Indian-American Republican presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy on Sunday 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. But it's not the most important thing I'm going to do as the next president. It is the table stakes for moving this country forward," said Ramaswamy in a talk show on NBC News.
Ramaswamy's popularity rating and online fundraising surged on August 24, a day after his maiden Republican presidential debate. According to the first poll which came out after the debate, 28 per cent of the 504 respondents said that Ramaswamy performed the best, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 27 per cent, and Mike Pence (13%). Nikki Haley stood at the last spot with seven per cent.
The Indian-American entrepreneur also slammed incumbent President Joe Biden's policies, saying that neither he nor any other 'puppet' like Kamala Harris are best positioned to take the country forward. Despite differences with other GOP rivals, Ramaswamy said that any of them are more effective than the Biden-Harris administration.
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. "And I stand by that without apology," he further said.
"That’s what we need to revive in the United States, our civic spirit, remembering that even the 'America First' movement is bigger than Donald Trump. It is bigger than me. It is bigger than one political candidate," Ramaswamy added.
Notably, the 38-year-old Ramaswamy, 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.
During the interview, the presidential aspirant also said that many criminal charges levelled against Trump are politically motivated that set a detrimental precedent for the country. "I do not want to see us become a banana republic where the administrative police state uses police force to eliminate opponents from competition. That's not the way it works," he stated.
Will Ramaswamy become Trump's running mate?
Trump, a key frontrunner for the polls, recently lauded his Republican rival, the Indian-origin presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, and said that he would be open to having the latter as the vice presidential candidate.
The 77-year-old Trump heaped praises on the Indian-origin US entrepreneur and commended his renegade politics and energy. "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 with Blaze TV's Glenn Beck.
"I can't get upset with him but he's a smart guy. He's a young guy. He's got a lot of talent. He's a very very very intelligent person. He's got good energy and he could be in some form of something," said the former US President.
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. During the 2016 elections, Mike Pence was the vice presidential candidate below Trump.
Trump facing multiple charges
Trump, a Republican, was charged this month in a four-count indictment with scheming to undo his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Smith’s team has brought a separate federal case accusing him of illegally retaining classified documents at his Palm Beach, Florida, property, Mar-a-Lago, and refusing to give them back. That case is currently set for trial next May 20.
Trump also faces the state cases in New York and Georgia. A spokesperson for New York’s state court system, Lucian Chalfen, said Chutkan recently spoke with the judge in Trump’s Manhattan criminal case, Juan Manuel Merchan, about their respective trials ahead. Chalfen said no decision has been made regarding postponing or rescheduling the Manhattan trial, which is to begin on March 25, 2024.
Trump surrendered Thursday in the Georgia case, posing with a scowl for the first mug shot in American history of a former U.S. president. He has claimed the investigations of him are politically motivated attempts to damage his chances of winning back the White House.
(with inputs from agencies)