Who is Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy?

Son of Indian immigrant parents has based his campaign on a series of 'truths'

Vivek Ramaswamy: "The climate change agenda is a hoax"

Vivek Ramaswamy: "The climate change agenda is a hoax"
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Vivek Ramaswamy was one of eight candidates who took to the state on Wednesday night for the first Republican primary debate.

He, along with his rivals, aimed to use the debate to reach voters who have been frequently distracted by the activities of the current front-runner – former president Donald Trump, who did not participate in the event.

Here, The National takes a look at Mr Ramaswamy and his platform.

Who is Vivek Ramaswamy and what is his net worth?

Mr Ramaswamy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Indian immigrant parents.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard, and interned and worked at a handful of major hedge funds before founding his own company, biotechnology firm Roivant Sciences.

Forbes has estimated his net worth at about $950 million.

Mr Ramaswamy is married and has two children. He is a Hindu, a vegetarian and is fluent in Tamil.

What is the major focus of his campaign?

Mr Ramaswamy has based his campaign on a series of “truths”, which include “God is real”, “human flourishing requires fossil fuels” and “an open border is no border”.

He has also made it a point to tackle “wokeism”, with his “truths” outlining his stance on topics such as gender and racism. He also called the climate crisis a “hoax” during the debate.

And of course, he has also espoused the tried-and-true, diehard patriotism popular among Republicans, calling the US Constitution “the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history”.

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Most of Donald Trump's rivals would still support him if he was convicted of a crime

“We are a young country – just three lifetimes separate us from the revolution,” he wrote in an op-ed for The New York Post.

“Fourscore years from now, I hope 2023 is remembered as the beginning of a new revolution to ensure that once again the people of this country are sovereign.”

His similarities to Mr Trump have been frequently noted.

“If you have wondered what Trumpism after Trump looks like, ask no further,” political writer David Freedlander wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

How did he do in the debate?

Mr Ramaswamy not only launched the most attacks on his rivals during the debate, he was also the target of most of their jibes.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie compared him to ChatGPT, suggesting that Mr Ramaswamy spit out fast answers that did not always make sense, according to The New York Times.

“You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows,” former UN envoy Nikki Haley told Mr Ramaswamy, blasting him over his suggestion the US should cut military aid to Ukraine.

But Mr Ramaswamy hit back, saying, “I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for”, accusing Mr Christie of angling for a cable news contributor contract and sarcastically wishing Ms Haley good luck “in your future career on the boards of [defence contractors] Lockheed [Martin] and Raytheon”.

Mr Ramaswamy made a number of remarks about his youth – he is only 38 – and has throughout his campaign suggested that it was time for the younger generation to take control of the Republican Party.

He also spoke more than every other candidate except former vice president Mike Pence.

The former entrepreneur was the only candidate to gain some ground on Mr Trump, receiving a 0.8 per cent bump following the debate.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 4:26 PM