Most know Vivek Ramaswamy for his involvement in the business, tech, and anti-ESG world. So does he have the political skills needed to successfully lead the country? Ramaswamy, who recently announced his 2024 presidential run, joins Glenn to detail both why he’d make an excellent president and what he would hope to accomplish while in office. Plus, Ramaswamy debunks 3 falsehoods being spread about his career — one of which he calls an outright ‘LIE.’
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Vivek Ramaswamy is on with us.
You know, you could have told me, given me a better clue. We just talked, I think it was on Friday. Said, are you thinking about running for president?
Like, I'm thinking about it.
Come on, you knew.
VIVEK: Glenn, I think I said I was very seriously considering it. I think I did on the show.
GLENN: No. We hung up. But I said on the show, he's running. He's absolutely running.
VIVEK: Yeah. Come on. I gave it to you. Absolutely.
GLENN: Vivek, first of all, you were not known as a politician, or somebody who has ever done this.
You're known as a CEO. We'll get into that. What is it that your platform -- look, like on -- with Russia. What would you do as president, with what we're going through right now with Ukraine?
VIVEK: I think foreign policy is all about prioritization, Glenn. I would not spend another dollar on Ukraine. I would re-prioritize that to take on the number one foreign policy challenge. Which is Declaration of Independence from communist China.
I think we can declare economic independence, and defeat them economically, so we don't have to militarily. That's number one.
And at number two, if there's a youth case for the U.S. military and weapons, it is actually to protect our border and to take on, and I would go so far as to say, decimate the cartels, 100,000 fentanyl deaths in the United States today.
Eighty percent of which comes from Southern border crossings. Deal with that. Protect our soil here. We could do that for a refraction, Glenn, of the cost that it takes to, you know, fight a foreign war, on the ear side of the world. That has far fewer American interests to it.
I was in New Hampshire yesterday, and actually one of the things that surprised me, Glenn, was how broad the support for that idea for policy profits is.
And it's amazing, because the defense establishment doesn't -- says, you can't say that in polite company. But that gives you a sense for where I am on foreign policy.
GLENN: So let me ask you, Vivek, the -- Donald Trump was an outsider, he came in. And he's told me, several times, personally, he had no -- he knew it was bad.
But he had no idea, that he wouldn't be able to trust a soul, in Washington. He had no idea, how deep the Deep State was.
And how powerful it was.
What makes you think, you could go in, and rock everyone's world.
VIVEK: Well, he's told me the same thing, and he's a friend. And honestly, I take inspiration of what he did in 2015. I just think we have to take this to the next level. Part of this will just have to be shutting agencies down, full stop. Now, are there costs and benefits to that?
Yes. But I think we live in moments, where the benefits outlive those costs.
GLENN: So when you say shut the agencies down, what agencies are you talking about?
VIVEK: Department of Education. Let's start there. I was speaking to the Iowa legislature this morning, congratulating them for what they did in school choice in Ohio.
I said, they need to eliminate the Department of Education.
Many other three-letter acronyms. Even much of the national security apparatus, Glenn, has to be shut down and replaced in those cases with something new.
Because when a managerial rot runs so deep, you can't reform it by putting a different figurehead at the top.
You have to shut it down, and build something new to take its place.
And here's the other thing: I can say that Donald Trump knows this just as well as I do, from being a CEO.
If you can't fire somebody who works for you, that means they don't work for you.
It means, you work for them. You are their slave.
We need to replace these civil service protections, with sunset clauses. Saying that, you know what, if I can't be the next president of the United States and work for the federal government, for more than eight years, than neither should anybody who works for me, either.
Those federal bureaucrats have to be subject to eight-year sunset clauses.
GLENN: How are you going to get that done?
I mean, you have to have -- you have to have a Congress, that has the balls to do these things. And I'm not sure you have the Congress on either side of the aisle.
You've got a few.
VIVEK: Glenn, you're asking all the right questions, right? So I take a strong view of the Constitution here.
Article II of the Constitution says that the president of the United States, runs the federal government, period.
So if Congress isn't willing to act. As president, I am. And I have studied the Supreme Court. And the composition of the Supreme Court right now.
You want to take this one and test it in the Supreme Court with me? Great. We can then use judicial president to make sure we lock that in.
I believe that Clarence Thomas, and others on the court today, will be right there with me, on my view of Article II and how that reads in the Constitution, to say that a lot of these other -- constitutional statutes. From the impoundment prevention act of 1974. That says that the president has to spend money on specific agencies that greatest has actually authorized to spend it on. That's authorization, not a mandate.
Firing civil service protections, as I said, if you're running the federal government, under articles of the Constitution, the president runs the executive branch.
I take the Constitution seriously. And, you know what, I think the friendly way to do it is to leave Congress.
I personally think that 2024 can actually be landslide election, Glenn.
A topic for another day. I'm optimistic about that.
But if we don't get it done that way, we will get it done through executive authority, per what the Constitution empowers a president to do.
This is once again, America first. I'm all in as an America first conservative.
We just have to take this to the next level, with what I'm repeatedly now calling America first, 2.0.
And that's a big part of the reason, I'm doing this.
GLENN: So why did you -- you said you were Libertarian.
Why -- why did you decide you were a Republican?
A conservative? Over a Libertarian?
VIVEK: I used to be a Libertarian in college. I had this discussion with the folks in New Hampshire too.
There were a couple of Libertarians that came to one of my rallies last night. But here's the thing: Libertarians, I got two issues.
One is, they're too meek, actually. So they'll talk about the free market.
And they say, they don't want to make political expression a civil right, as I believe we need to in this country. Yet, they don't actually touch the other protected classes, like race or sex or religion or national origin.
To my view, to Libertarians today, with all due respect, have their heads in the sand.
Because you can't have it both ways. That's problem number one. The problem number two is deeper. Which is, you know, what are we doing, in that free world?
Even when the state is out of our hair. There's still the deeper question of purpose, as citizens. How we live our lives. How we live virtuous lives.
And I care about virtue, in civic life and in family life, and in faith-based life too. Not to say that the governments should necessarily be involved or mandating those things.
But those things matter for human flourishing, for American flourishing, and Libertarianism has nothing to say about that.
That is why I call myself a conservative today, in contrast to 15 years ago, when I thought I was a cool kid in college, calling myself a libertarian.
GLENN: So we're talking to Vivek Ramaswamy.
He's running for president of the United States. As a Republican.
We've gotten to know each other, over the World Economic Forum. And ESG.
And you are not only one of the biggest voices against it. You are actually -- you've put into action, strive management.
Where you are saying, invest with us.
We'll do better with your money than BlackRock.
And we're going to use the voting rights, that we get, to try to tell these companies, don't do these woke things.
But there's some charges out about you. That I just like to hear you answer.
You were nominated and selected, as a World Economic Forum young global leader in '21.
VIVEK: Glenn, this is hilarious. This is hilarious. Thank you for this opportunity. This is actually a lot of fun for me. Look, there are a lot of people on the right and the left that are threatened by my entry into this race.
So I welcome the opportunity to have this debate in the open. All right?
I think you know this.
I don't like to boast about myself. But I would go so far to say, no one. And I mean, no one in this country has been a bigger both doer and crusader against the World Economic Forum agenda, than probably the two of us on this call.
I really mean it. I would challenge anybody to name one for me. If you really pressed me.
I would name maybe Elon Musk. And guess what, he's named on that sanely website, of the World Economic Forum. Somebody else, financially.
Friend, Peter Thiel. He's been named on that same website. You want to know why? Here's the dirty little secret. Though -- and I have seen it firsthand. I experienced it firsthand. The World Economic Forum names you on their website without your permission.
So the funny part is, I have a book coming out later this year. Where I actually detailed this experience.
I have phone calls, emails. And I was respectful about it.
I believe in being civil. But I said, do not name me on your website, because I do not accept your award. I don't want to speak at your conference.
They tell me, no, no, no. You don't understand. We have all the global billionaires here. Mark Zuckerbuck was a young global fellow.
No, no, no, Vivek, you don't understand. This is an honor. I respectfully disagree. I don't want to be named. And I don't want to accept your award.
And then they go on to put my name on their website anyway. They've asked me to speak here, and that kind of thing.
I declined. But the funny thing about me. And I've learned a little bit about how this partisan politics game works. You know, Trump spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in 2018 and 2019.
Do I hold that against him?
No. You want to know why, because everyone who is as financially successful as me or Donald Trump or Elon Musk or whatever, gets invited to speak. In my case, I've said no. This has been my focus area.
It would not have made sense for me to do it. In Trump's case, he said, yes, I don't hold that against him.
But I think it just reveals, you know, one of the things that has been eye-opening to me, about the online version of the conservative movement. The rise of these click bait conservatives. That it is sort of sad. Want to mislead their followers to advance what agenda, I don't know.
But at the end of the day, I also don't want to complain about it.
One of the big leagues of presidential politics. It's well-known, it is a dirty game. But it's good to keep your eye on the facts. And there's no -- this agenda than me.
GLENN: Well, I can verify one thing. The world economical forum has me on a list too. And they won't take me off that list either.
So it's just not the same kind of list.
BRAD: They can do it.
GLENN: I know. So the next thing is, that you have a long time association with Soros.
And I'm probably the number one anti-Soros guy in the world.
VIVEK: Can I give you a one-word answer to that question, Glenn?
I know you're the number one anti-Soros guy. So I'm not saying false to you. I'm saying false to the long-time association with George Soros.
Lie. 100 percent lie.
Now, let me actually give you guys the facts. And again, this -- these click bait conservatives online.
I don't know if they feel threatened or whatever. And they need to make up stuff.
I was 25 years old. When I went to law school. I got a scholarship funded by Paul Soros, not George Soros. But Paul Soros.
That allowed me at the age of 25, to pay for law school, and I took it.
You want to know why? Because I'm smart.
Now, it's hilarious to me, that the same people who bring that back up from when I was 25 years old, taking a scholarship, funded partially by somebody who is related to George Soros, don't say a word about the fact, that, again, Donald Trump, who I love. Who I respect. I'm not criticizing him. Took 160-million-dollar loan from not Paul Soros, but George Soros himself.
I have no problem with this. You want to know why?
Because it's business.
Donald Trump knows what he's doing. I don't think he's corrupted by that.
I'm not criticizing him for it. He's a friend. But I think it's funny. And I think it's revealing, that these same people will talk about a 25-year-old dude taking a scholarship to help him pay for law school from a relative of George Soros. Make a big deal out of that, without saying a peep about Donald Trump taking 165 million-dollar loan for George Soros, and I say that as a friend and somebody who respects Donald Trump.
Because I don't think that that disqualifies him or taints him in any way, because he's a man of integrity. And he's doing business the way he knows how.
But I think when you're in positions like I've been or Donald Trump has been, you get that. I think, you know, if you're sitting online on Twitter, it can be a very different story.
GLENN: All right. I have one more question in this line here. And that is: You're -- you're a biotechnical guy. And in bed with big pharmaceuticals.
And big proponent of mRNA shots.
And, you know, you -- you have -- you've never critiqued Pfizer.
VIVEK: So let me -- let me say a couple things. First of those things is true.
I'm a biotech guy. I am proud of my success in biotech. Glenn, five of the medicines I worked on, personally oversaw in the company I founded. Are FDA products today.
That is now a multi-billion-dollar company. A seven-billion-dollar company that I led as CEO.
One of those drugs is a drug for prostate cancer. Another for women's health conditions, for endometriosis, to Uterine fibroids, to psoriasis. To one that is particularly touching for me.
I say an approved therapy for kids, who are born with a genetic disease that caused them to die by the age of two, at a 100 percent fatality rate by the age of 2 or 3. Now a majority of them have an opportunity to live lives of potentially a normal duration.
I'm proud of those things, Glenn. I will not apologize. That is part of what makes America great, and it's part of what makes innovation great, is it empowers human beings to live better lives.
That is not an association with anything other than human innovation and a commitment to actually making people prosper by addressing diseases and treating them.
Now, the idea that I am a proponent of some sort of vaccination agenda. No, I'm on the record right now.
I oppose vaccine mandates. I think there has been a lot of rampant government lying and mistrust. Appropriately shown to the American public. Because of how badly they handled this issue.
But I think we can't go to a place where we say that now we don't want people working on innovative medicines to treat diseases from prostate cancer, to psoriasis, to genetic conditions in children.
No. I think we have to stand up for the innovation that makes us who we are. And I'm proud of what I accomplished.
GLENN: All right. Talking to Vivek Ramaswamy. Back with him in just a second.
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GLENN: Let me go back to your platform. A good friend of ours, David Harsanyi, has pushed back a bit on one of your platform policies. I would like to hear your response.
STU: Yeah. I think some respectful questioning, about one of your policy proposals, Vivek, about making political ideas a protected right.
I think there's a lot of appeal to conservatives, who continually get fired from their jobs, over what they believe.
He says, though. You're -- we could have some negative side effects. He says, your idea would potentially make it illegal for not only for Disney to fire a social conservative, but for a Jewish restaurant to sever its restaurant with a neo-Nazi, or a hedge fund would be compelled to keep a Trotskyite, who believe profits are evil on the payroll. Or Walmart having to wait for the worker who spends his days trying to put big box chains out of business, to leave on his own volition. How do you walk this line?
Because, obviously, there's a lot of really negative consequences coming from this. But does -- if we make this a civil right, does it go too far?
VIVEK: Great question. These are the things that we should actually be talking about. Great question. Thank you.
Here's what I would say: I would give Congress a choice. Either you repeal the protected classes as they exist. Okay?
Race, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and you actually leave it to the free market. Or you have to apply those standards evenhandedly. But you cannot have it both ways.
And since this is -- I know who I'm talking to. A pretty sophisticated counterpart here, and Glenn in particular understands this. I know.
Let me explain how those civil rights laws and protected classes created the conditions for viewpoint discrimination. Okay?
GLENN: We have two minutes.
VIVEK: Yeah. So Lyndon Johnson thought it was just prohibiting discrimination on the base of race.
But they've now been interpreted to say, that includes hostile work environments against religious minorities. What's one of the ways you can create a hostile work environment?
It's by wearing a Trump hat to work. It's by saying the wrong thing on social media. So ironically, the law created the conditions for a viewpoint-based discrimination, while leaving political viewpoints unprotected.
So you can't have it both ways. If you can't fire somebody for being black or gay or Muslim or white or Jewish or whatever, you should not be able to fire somebody for being an outspoken conservative either.
We have to apply these standards, evenhandedly. And if you want to get rid of protected classes altogether, great. I'll have that conversation. But no Republican or anybody else is willing to.
So in the meantime, I think we need to bring civil rights into the 21st century, to protect political expression as a civil right.
GLENN: All right. Vivek, I love the fact that you're running. I -- I support anybody who is standing up for the Constitution. Standing up for the right of people. Standing up against the endless wars and the lies. And you just are just able to run for president, are you not?
Didn't you just have a birthday? What are you, 36? Thirty-seven?
VIVEK: Two years ago. Thirty-seven. Thirty-seven.
Yeah. That would be a shocking change from what we had traditionally. Since really Clinton. And I think he was in his 40s.
STU: I only want people above 100 years old to run for president. Yes, I think we should go the other direction. I'm sorry, Vivek.
GLENN: All right. Vivek Ramaswamy.
We'll talk to you again. Thank you so much.
You can find out more, at Vivek V-I-V-E-K2024.com. Vivek2024.com. V-I-V-E-K2024.com.