Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has reaffirmed his support for former President Donald Trump, speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning.
Ramaswamy told Stephanopoulos, “What I’ve said, it’s clear, 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.”
Stephanopoulos also pressed Ramaswamy on why the author and entrepreneur believes it’s “OK for a convicted felon to be president” if Trump succeeds in becoming the Republican nominee. Ramaswamy maintained his position that the federal cases against Trump are “downright politicized persecutions.”
He then echoed one of Trump’s own Truth Social posts and added, “I do not want to see us become a ‘banana republic’ where the administrative police state uses police force to eliminate opponents from competition.”
While the author made sure to make it clear he believes that he is actually the better candidate for the job, Ramaswamy also insisted that any Republican — even one potentially convicted on 91 federal charges — is better than President Joe Biden.
“I’m in this race because I believe I can lead us forward and reunite this country, but if it’s not me as the nominee,” he added, “I still expect that Donald Trump or whoever the Republican nominee is will be better than the alternative.”
Ramaswamy did offer up a tepid criticism of Trump when the conversation turned to fake electors the Trump campaign recruited in the states he lost in the 2020 election.
Ramaswamy said, “I think that there were a number of bad judgments that were made. Frankly, if I were the U.S. president, I would have never let it get to that place. We had systematic suppression of information.”
He also added that if he had been president at the time, Ramaswamy would not have encouraged the events of Jan. 6, 2021, though he described Trump’s involvement as encouraging “peaceful protest.”
Ramaswamy concluded, “Is that what I would have done that day under those circumstances? No, but I do think that that’s different from a crime, and so I disagree with a lot of what he did that day.”
Trump gave a speech to supporters ahead of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The speech was peppered with calls to “fight” and metaphors for waging some kind of battle. At various points, he told supporters, “Unbelievable, what we have to go through, what we have to go through and you have to get your people to fight” and “Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer, and we want to be so nice.”