When Donald Trump was indicted in a Manhattan courthouse last month, all of his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination were clearly scrambling to find a way to react.
That is, except for one.
Vivek Ramaswamy is not a governor, nor a senator, not even an elected official. Instead, he is a 37-year-old businessman and describes himself as an “anti-wake” activist. And when Trump was indicted, Ramaswamy almost immediately declared his solidarity with Trump.
Minutes after the news broke, Ramaswamy tweeted a direct to camera video where he lamented the “politically motivated indictment” that marked “a dark moment in American history.” Within hours, he was on air with Tucker Carlson, warning his millions of viewers that, “if they can do it to Trump, they can do it to you too.”
The episode encapsulates exactly why the formerly little-known Republican can go to great lengths to achieve the 2024 campaign relevancy: quick political instincts, thirst inconsolable communication and strangely warm approach to the man he probably had to beat to win the Republican nomination.
While possible Trump’s opponents like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis struggled with how to deal with the former president, Ramaswamy publicly praised and defended him and attacked other candidates—raising his status. in the polls and predictably he will be on Trumpworld’s radar.
“People are paying attention,” a source close to Trump told The Daily Beast. “It didn’t take him 30 minutes or three days to consult with advisers, he got it within minutes of the indictment happening. He has a political instinct.”
Publicly, Trump has only good things to say about Ramaswamy. “What I like about Vivek is that he only has good things to say about ‘President Trump,'” he said. speak in a post on his social media site this month.
Moreover, the two are not strangers. According to a source familiar with the meetings, Trump and Ramaswamy dined at Trump’s New Jersey golf club in the summer of 2021 and spoke in April backstage at the National Rifle Association conference. family in Nashville. (The Bedminster meeting was first reported by Rolling Stonewho has a source said Trumpworld wants to use Ramaswamy to “fuck” DeSantis.)
In GOP circles, a growing number of people believe there is an informal alliance between the party’s one-time and future front-runner and a millennial pharmaceutical entrepreneur promising to spend millions of dollars of his own money. to fund your campaign.
For Trump, the flip side of Ramaswamy’s aggressive campaign is clear: it hurts DeSantis more than it hurts him. To the extent that Ramaswamy had a brand before his 2024 run, it was built on his crusade against “wake up” culture — a theme many consider him a stronger messenger than DeSantis.
“He’s impressing a lot of people,” said a source close to Trump. “He has his own message to move on. I think he caused huge trouble for Ron DeSantis, especially on the debate stage, when Ron was trying to present himself as the anti-wake candidate.
In a statement, Ramaswamy spokeswoman Tricia McLaughlin insisted it was old news, but nodded to their relationship.
“Vivek is running for President of the United States to revive our country and that means beating everyone else in the field, including Donald Trump,” she said. “However, there is a strong level of mutual respect between Vivek and Trump in a way that does not exist anywhere else in the field. Vivek has been very clear about creating contrasts between himself and the former president. He will do things differently. Not only will he put Betsy DeVos at the top of the Department of Education, he [sic.] the whole incident. He’s not just going to build the wall, but he’s going to use the military to really defend our border.”
However, for Ramaswamy, the calculation is less obvious. His apparent comfort with Trump has fueled speculation among Republicans about exactly what his ultimate game is — whether it’s playing to win or just raising the bar. his profile for the next gig or campaign.
The simplest theory is that Ramaswamy is positioning himself for a lucrative job in a hypothetical Trump administration, whether that’s as a sidekick or something else.
“He wants to be considered for Vice President,” a second Trump adviser told The Daily Beast, agreeing with others that the managerial role could be the driving force behind the campaign. Most of it is self-funded.
“I think he sees a path to at least number two,” the Trump loyalist continued, “and a lot of Republicans are watching what’s happening in the indictment space and all those things. So I think his eyes are on the award.
Some insiders in the Trump campaign have said, however, that Ramaswamy is certainly no longer running for a potential VP position — which, according to The Daily Beast previously reportedconsidered only on the shortlist of women — but possibly on what some have described as a “Larry Kudlow-style position” as a certain economic advisor.
Another source in Trump’s orbit joked that The Daily Beast should call this generation of aspiring millennials “Ambassador Ramaswamy” from now on.
But not everyone is so sure. The source close to Trump, who has seen Ramaswamy as an asset on the debate stage, dismissed the notion that he was just chasing a promotion on his resume.
“Why would a guy want to spend $100 million to be Finance Minister?” source said. “I think the guy thinks he can win.”
By all available metrics, Ramaswamy finds himself doing as well or better than his more famous rivals. Recent preliminary polls show him equaling, or even beating, such figures as Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), former Governor Nikki Haley and former Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ). .
For more traditional Republicans, making a dent in the polls and the modern attention economy has proven elusive. However, for reasons consistent with Trump’s campaign interests, Ramaswamy enjoys freedom of movement that other challengers do not enjoy other than “welcome” or passive “aggression” .good luck” he gave to the likes of Haley and Scott.
The convenient Trump-Ramaswamy alliance, whether informal or off the books, is a sign that the enduring strength of the MAGA establishment remains a defining feature of the race—with Ramaswamy demonstrating is a new archetype for success in Trump’s Republican Party.
With a biology degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale, Ramaswamy quickly amassed a fortune—once estimated to be worth about $600 million—by building a pharmaceutical company called Roivant Science.
In 2021, he co-founded an asset management firm that is outright opposed to one of the right-wing taboos—“environmental, social and corporate governance,” or ESG—that has helping him get airtime on Fox News and speak at conservative conferences. So are his books. wake up, Inc. And Victim’s countrycracked New York Times best seller list.
In February, Politburo reported during Ramaswamy’s exploratory trips to Iowa, where he spoke to crowds about satisfying the nation’s “moral hunger.” Later that month, he launched his presidential campaign, declaring, “we are in the midst of a crisis of national identity… Faith, patriotism, and hard work have disappeared, only to replaced by new secular religions.”
So far, Ramaswamy has imitated Trump in theme rather than style. The repetitive motifs of his puzzling speech were many of the same entries that enliven the Trump base, but presented in more polished, pseudoscientific jargon like “gender ideology” ”, “climateism” and “COVIDism”.
Interestingly, Ramaswamy’s camp seems to have accepted the play of another ambitious, prestigious 30-year-old trying to break through obscurity to become a national celebrity in a war campaign. Presidential election: Current Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
A GOP strategist said Ramaswamy implemented the “Buttigieg strategy” of appearing on television networks large and small — not to mention the podcast circuit and other earned media opportunities — that were the hallmarks of the war campaign. 2020 presidential election of the former small town mayor.
Of course, Ramaswamy’s omnipotence comes at the expense of everyone but Trump.
“He goes anywhere and talks to anyone, which is relatively successful because the more shows you’re willing to do, the more they want you back and you can breathe in oxygen,” one said. The strategist without a candidate in the race told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to avoid involvement with any clients.
“I think not wavering before Trump is a smart strategy because those who waver before Trump lose,” the strategist continued. “So can you say there is a lane for Vivek to win? No, obviously not. But he’s only gaining momentum in the polls, and he’s closer to Ron than Ron is to Trump. That’s a big deal for DeSantis.”
But Ramaswamy shares Trumpian killer instincts when it comes to attacking his opponents — at least those not named Trump. From Sunday program Constantly hitting the local news in Iowa and New Hampshire, he made a lot of hits on DeSantis, often revolving around his reluctance to face questions from the press. He is also Calls Florida governor “sloppy” and inability to “have independent thoughts of their own.”
A Republican strategist supporting a rival candidate said they were not concerned with any perceived initial momentum from Ramaswamy. For now, the assumption is that his bid “probably hurts DeSantis the most.”
In terms of personnel, working for the Ramaswamy operation should not be seen as a barrier to future employment in Trumpworld or the MAGA-leaning offices on Capitol Hill, especially for junior employees under the age of 20. of the Republican Party, who may have more experience and better pay for themselves. -funder of the group than other places.
“People want to work for him because, yes, he’s challenging Trump, but he’s doing it in a different way,” said the source close to Trump. “People don’t mind working for him and losing compared to Ron DeSantis.”
Although the extent of Trump and Ramaswamy’s relationship is unclear beyond the two meetings, from the outside, Republican campaigners see Trump’s warmth for him as a The play is predictable. EQUAL The Daily Beast reported at the start of the campaignTrump’s team is keen on using a crowded field of opponents to their advantage.
A source in Trump’s orbit repeatedly described the long-running campaign’s campaign as “cute,” while a Trump campaign adviser was more diplomatic when asked what they thought about not running. member who shows a desire to criticize the other.
“I don’t necessarily want to give an opinion on one of the other candidates,” the Trump adviser — who has previously provided opinions on so many other candidates — told The Daily Beast. , “but he’s a nice guy and very tough.”
However, it is clear to everyone what will happen to Ramaswamy if he becomes a real threat to Trump and his team.
“If he makes it to number two,” said a source close to Trump, “attacks and guns will be on him.”