GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy defends rival Donald Trump: ‘Poor judgment is not the same as a crime’

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Sunday defended former President Donald Trump, who is being investigated by a special counsel over the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol protests.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, the biotech entrepreneur responded to being criticized a month before the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee for not criticizing Trump.

“I’ve insisted all along,” he said, “that my judgments were different from Donald Trump’s — that’s why I’m running in this race for the presidency — the same race as him.” Because I would have made different and, I believe, better judgments for the country.”

“But bad judgment is not the same as a crime,” Ramaswamy continued. “And if we mix the two together, it sets a dangerous precedent for this country. I don’t want us to become a banana republic where the ruling party uses police force to arrest their political opponents.”

“Now that I’m third in the national polls, it would be much easier for me, in my own interest, to win this election if Trump weren’t the front runner – if Trump were eliminated by the federal administrative police state. But that’s not right for the country,” he added.


Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Turning Point USA conference

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Turning Point Action conference July 15, 2023. Ramaswamy pleaded for U.S. economic independence from China on Sunday, putting him at odds with former President Trump. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In a recent Fox News poll of Republicans in Iowa, Trump received 46% support among likely GOP faction participants in Iowa, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received 16% and Senator Tim Scott, RS.C., 11%. Ramaswamy was fourth with 6%.

In South Carolina, another recent Fox News poll found Trump leading by more than 30 points. Ramaswamy came sixth in this poll with just 3%.

Ramaswamy claimed that he is not running “against anyone,” including rival Republican Party presidential candidates and Democratic President Biden, stressing that he is running for the “vision of what it means to be American.”

“We don’t want a super PAC puppet,” Ramaswamy said. “We want an independent voice and a patriot who actually tells the truth. That’s what I bring to the race.”

Trump on the Turning Point USA stage

Donald Trump speaks during the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Saturday, July 15, 2023. Trump is the current GOP front runner. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


In a previous book, Ramaswamy argued that Trump falsely claimed he didn’t lose the 2020 election and raked in millions of dollars from his supporters, noted Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream. “What Trump did last week was wrong. Downright disgusting. Plain and simple,” Ramaswamy previously tweeted on Jan. 12, 2021. “I’ve said it before and I did it in my post.”

During the performance, Ramaswamy responded to Trump’s recent remarks calling Chinese President Xi Jinping “brilliant” and “an iron fist.” Ramaswamy said Xi is “a dictator and China is the greatest threat facing the United States,” arguing that he stands out from other 2024 candidates, including Trump, when it comes to “economic independence” from China.

Vivek Ramaswam during Sirius XM Town Hall

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a SiriusXM town hall on June 20, 2023 in Philadelphia. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Ramaswamy said he also presented a foreign policy plan based on dismantling the Sino-Russian alliance.


“NATO was created to deter the USSR. The USSR no longer exists, yet after the fall of the USSR, NATO grew more than at any time during the existence of the USSR. So I think we need to ask the question, “What advances American interests?” said Ramaswamy. “And to me, America’s greatest interest is to dismantle the China-Russia alliance — that will end the war in Ukraine, which will prevent us from having to fund another hundreds of billions of dollars to protect someone else’s border that we could use to protect our own border.” And more importantly, that’s also how we stop Xi Jinping from attacking Taiwan.”

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