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US: Indian-American prez aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy says he'll pardon 'peaceful protesters' of 2021 Capitol riot

"To unify this country, I commit as president to pardon all Americans who were targets of politicized federal prosecutions & those denied due process," said Ramaswamy.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Washington Published on: September 07, 2023 10:39 IST
Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy
Image Source : AP Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy

Indian-American Republican presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy on Wednesday said that if elected, he will pardon all 'peaceful protesters' involved in the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. He also lambasted the US Department of Justice for arresting over a thousand people for 'non-violent offenses'.

"America now has a two-tiered justice system: Antifa & BLM rioters roam free while peaceful January 6 protesters are imprisoned without bail. Biden’s “Department of Injustice” has executed over 1,000 arrests for nonviolent offenses related to January 6, casting a dark shadow over Lady Justice & the foundational principles of our legal system," he said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

Sharing his commitment to pardon all Americans who have been "denied due process", Ramaswamy said, "This includes all peaceful, nonviolent January 6 protesters who were denied their constitutional due process rights. I will end the weaponization of police power in America. Every Republican candidate must be clear about where we stand on the hard issues."

What happened in the 2021 Capitol riot?

Over 2,000 people barged into the US Capitol in January 6, 2021 after the presidential elections where President Joe Biden had defeated Donald Trump. The latter made several unsubstantiated claims of election fraud and called on then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results.

An investigative committee recently found that Trump’s lies about widespread election fraud to conversations with some of his allies ahead of Election Day, evidence that his plan to overturn the results was “premeditated". 

The Capitol insurrection in 2021 became one of the biggest police investigation in the history of the US and hundreds of people were charged with criminal offenses. Five people also died during the riot.

Vivek Ramaswamy's relationship with Trump

Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old Indian-American entrepreneur, despite being Trump's rival in the run-up to the 2024 elections, has been one of the stauncher defenders of his policies and the four indictments currently levelled against the 45th President. During last week's Republican primary debate, Ramaswamy hailed Trump as the "best President of the 21st century" and said that his candidacy will aim for taking Trump's policies to the next level.

On Sunday, Ramaswamy said that he will fully support former US President Donald Trump if the latter becomes the party nominee for the 2024 elections. Ramaswamy also said that if he is elected as the next President, he will pardon Trump in alleged criminal cases.

"If Donald Trump's the nominee -- yes, I will support him, and if I'm the president, yes, I will pardon him because that will help reunite the country," said Ramaswamy in a talk show with NBC News. He also lauded the 'America First' policies under Trump's presidency - saying that it belongs to the people of the US and promised to preserve the system rather than see it replaced by a federal police state deciding the leadership.

Trump, a key frontrunner for the polls, also lauded Ramaswamy, and said that he would be open to having the latter as the vice presidential candidate. "I think he's great. Look, anybody that said I'm the best president in a generation... I have to like a guy like that," Trump said in an interview.

Trump's latest comments are significant as he is generally known for "rhetorically carpet-bombing" his rivals, especially those who gain momentum or encroach on his time in the limelight. The unexpected endorsement has set off speculations that Ramaswamy might become Trump's running mate in the upcoming polls. 

ALSO READ | Indian-American prez aspirant Vivek says he'll support Trump as Republican candidate, 'pardon him if elected'

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