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Ramaswamy Relies on Denialism When Challenged on Flip-Flopping Positions

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In his breakout efficiency within the Republican major race, Vivek Ramaswamy has harnessed his populist bravado whereas ceaselessly and unapologetically contorting the reality for political acquire, a lot in the identical means that former President Donald J. Trump has mastered.

Mr. Ramaswamy’s sample of falsehoods has been the topic of intensifying scrutiny by the information media and, extra just lately, his G.O.P. opponents, who clashed with him typically in the course of the get together’s first debate final Wednesday.

There are layers to Mr. Ramaswamy’s distortions: He has spread lies and exaggerations on topics together with the 2020 election outcomes, the Jan. 6 assaults on the Capitol and local weather change. When challenged on these statements, Mr. Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur who’s the first millennial Republican to run for president, has in a number of situations claimed that he had by no means made them or that he had been taken out of context.

However his denials have repeatedly been refuted by recordings and transcripts from Mr. Ramaswamy’s interviews — or, in some circumstances, excerpts from his personal e-book.

Listed here are some notable events when he sought to retreat from his previous statements or mischaracterized primary details:

At a breakfast spherical desk occasion organized by his marketing campaign on Friday in Indianola, Iowa, Mr. Ramaswamy recounted how he had visited the South Facet of Chicago in Might to advertise his immigration proposals to a principally Black viewers.

He boasted that nowhere had his concepts on the problem been extra enthusiastically obtained than within the nation’s third most populous metropolis, the place his look had adopted neighborhood protests over the housing of migrants in an area highschool.

“I’ve by no means been in a room extra in favor of my proposal to make use of the U.S. navy to safe the southern border and seal the Swiss cheese down there than once I was in an almost all-Black room of supposedly principally Democrats on the South Facet of Chicago,” he stated.

However Mr. Ramaswamy’s retelling of the anecdote was sharply contradicted by the observations of a New York Occasions reporter who lined each occasions.

The reporter witnessed the viewers in Chicago pepper Mr. Ramaswamy about reparations, systemic racism and his opposition to affirmative motion. Immigration was barely talked about in the course of the formal program. It was so absent {that a} Ramaswamy marketing campaign aide at one level pleaded for questions on the problem. With that prompting, a single Republican advisor stood as much as query Mr. Ramaswamy on his proposals.

In one of many extra heated exchanges of last week’s G.O.P. debate, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey criticized Mr. Ramaswamy for lionizing Mr. Trump and defending his actions in the course of the Jan. 6 assault.

He sought to solid Mr. Ramaswamy as an opportunist who was attempting to pander to Mr. Trump’s supporters by attributing the riot to authorities censorship in the course of the 2020 election.

“In your e-book, you had a lot various things to say about Donald Trump than you’re saying right here tonight,” Mr. Christie stated.

Mr. Ramaswamy bristled and stated, “That’s not true.”

However in his 2022 e-book “Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence,” Mr. Ramaswamy had harsh phrases for Mr. Trump and gave a extra somber evaluation of the violence.

“It was a darkish day for democracy,” Mr. Ramaswamy wrote. “The loser of the final election refused to concede the race, claimed the election was stolen, raised tons of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from loyal supporters, and is contemplating operating for govt workplace once more. I’m referring, after all, to Donald Trump.”

When requested by The Occasions concerning the excerpt, Mr. Ramaswamy insisted that his rhetoric had not advanced and identified that he had co-written an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal 5 days after the Jan. 6 assault that was essential of the actions of social media firms in the course of the 2020 election.

“Additionally what I stated on the time was that I actually thought what Trump did was regrettable,” he stated. “I’d have dealt with it very otherwise if I used to be in his footwear. I’ll remind you that I’m operating for U.S. president in the identical race that Donald Trump is operating proper now.”

Mr. Ramaswamy parsed his criticism of the previous president, nevertheless.

“However a foul judgment shouldn’t be the identical factor as against the law,” he stated.

Throughout the debate, Mr. Ramaswamy additionally sparred with former Vice President Mike Pence, whose senior aide and onetime chief of employees Marc Quick told NBC News the following day that Mr. Ramaswamy was not a real populist.

“There’s populism after which there’s simply merely fraud,” he stated.

Since coming into the race, Mr. Ramaswamy has repeatedly floated conspiracy theories a couple of cover-up by the federal authorities in reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults, a story seemingly tailor-made to members of the G.O.P.’s proper wing who’re deeply distrustful of establishments.

In a latest profile by The Atlantic, he instructed the journal, “I feel it’s reliable to say what number of police, what number of federal brokers, had been on the planes that hit the dual towers.”

Whereas he acknowledged that he had “no cause” to imagine that the quantity was “something apart from zero,” Mr. Ramaswamy instructed that the federal government had not been clear concerning the assaults.

“But when we’re doing a complete evaluation of what occurred on 9/11, we’ve got a 9/11 fee, completely that needs to be a solution the general public is aware of the reply to,” he stated.

But when Mr. Ramaswamy was asked to clarify those remarks by Kaitlan Collins of CNN two nights earlier than final week’s debate, he backtracked and accused The Atlantic of misquoting him.

“I’m telling you the quote is fallacious, really,” he stated.

Quickly after Mr. Ramaswamy claimed that his phrases had been twisted, The Atlantic released a recording and transcript from the interview that confirmed that he had certainly been quoted precisely.

When requested in an interview on Saturday whether or not the audio had undercut his argument, Mr. Ramaswamy reiterated his competition that the information media had typically misrepresented him.

“I feel there’s a cause why,” he stated, suggesting that his free-flowing means of talking broke the mildew of so-called scripted candidates. “I simply don’t converse like a conventional politician, and I feel the system shouldn’t be used to that. The political media shouldn’t be used to that. And that lends itself naturally then to being inaccurately portrayed, to being distorted.”

Mr. Trump’s allies have used comparable justifications when discussing the previous president’s falsehoods, citing his stream-of-consciousness talking type. His allies and supporters have admired his impulse to refuse to apologize or again down when referred to as out, an method Mr. Ramaswamy has echoed.

Mr. Ramaswamy stated that he was requested about Sept. 11 whereas discussing the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol and his repeated requires an accounting of what number of federal brokers had been within the area that day. His marketing campaign described The Atlantic’s recording as a “snippet.”

Firstly of The Occasions’s dialog with Mr. Ramaswamy, he stated that he assumed that the interview was being recorded and famous that his marketing campaign was recording, too.

“We’re now doing mutually on the document, so simply F.Y.I.,” he stated.

No information outlet has been off-limits to Mr. Ramaswamy’s claims of being misquoted: This month, he denounced a New York Post headline that learn: “GOP 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy ‘open’ to pardon of Hunter Biden.”

The Aug. 12 article cited an interview that The Publish had performed with him.

“After we’ve got shut down the F.B.I., after we’ve got refurbished the Division of Justice, after we’ve got systemically pardoned anybody who was a sufferer of a political motivated persecution — from Donald Trump and peaceable January 6 protests — then would I’d be open to evaluating pardons for members of the Biden household within the curiosity of transferring the nation ahead,” Mr. Ramaswamy was quoted as saying.

The subsequent morning on Fox Information Channel, which, like The Publish, is owned by Information Corp, Mr. Ramaswamy told the anchor Maria Bartiromo that the report was erroneous.

“Maria, that was misquoted and purposeful opposition analysis with the headline,” he stated. “You know the way this recreation is performed.”

The Publish didn’t reply to a request for remark.

In an interview with The Occasions, Mr. Ramaswamy described the headline as “manufactured” and stated it was a part of “the ridiculous farce of this gotcha recreation.”

Within the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, the Masks for All Act, a invoice proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that aimed to offer each particular person in the USA with three free N95 masks, appeared to obtain an unlikely endorsement on Twitter — from Mr. Ramaswamy.

“My coverage views don’t typically align with Bernie, however this strikes me as a smart concept,” he wrote in July 2020. “The associated fee is a tiny fraction of different much less compelling federal expenditures on COVID-19.”

Mr. Ramaswamy was responding to an opinion column written for CNN by Mr. Sanders, who’s a democratic socialist, and Andy Slavitt, who was later a prime pandemic adviser to Mr. Biden. He stated they need to have picked somebody from the political proper as a co-author to point out that there was a consensus on masks.

However when he was pressed this summer season by Josie Glabach of the Red Headed Libertarian podcast about whether or not he had ever supported Mr. Sanders’s masks measure, he answered no.

When requested by The Occasions for additional clarification, Mr. Ramaswamy acknowledged that he was an early supporter of sporting masks, however stated that he not believed that they prevented the unfold of the virus. He accused his political opponents of conflating his preliminary stance with assist for masks mandates, which he stated he had persistently opposed.

When he was requested by the conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt on his show in June whether or not he would pardon the previous U.S. intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden for leaking paperwork about the USA authorities’s surveillance packages, Mr. Ramaswamy stated sure and invoked an sudden identify: the civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

He stated that Mr. Snowden, a fugitive, had demonstrated heroism to carry the federal government accountable.

“A part of what makes that threat admirable — Rosa Parks way back — is the willingness to bear punishment he already has,” he stated. “That’s additionally why I’d be certain that he was a free man.”

To Mr. Hewitt, the analogy was jarring.

“Wait, wait, wait, did you simply examine Rosa Parks to Edward Snowden?” he stated.

Mr. Ramaswamy instantly distanced himself from such a comparability, whereas then reinforcing it, suggesting that they’d each effectuated progress of a unique sort.

“No, I didn’t,” he stated. “However I did examine the facet of their willingness to take a threat to ensure that on the time breaking a rule that on the time was punishable.”

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