GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was on Capitol Hill on Thursday, courting conservative lawmakers with his “anti-woke” platform as the crowded 2024 Republican primary heats up.
Ramaswamy attended a roundtable held by the House Anti-Woke Caucus led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., which also included conservative members like Reps. Kevin Hern, R-Okla.; Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo.; Kat Cammack, R-Fla.; and Mike Waltz, R-Fla., among others.
It does not appear that the event netted him any new GOP backers, however, Ramaswamy insisted it was not why he traveled to the Hill, telling Fox News Digital that it was to spread his message that “wokeness” was a “quiet cancer.”
“My goal today was actually not to seek endorsements. My endorsement strategy is actually let the people come to me, who actually agree with the vision that I have,” he said in response to Fox News Digital’s question on his goal for the visit and whether he’d won any support there.
“The goal here was in my capacity as a citizen, not even as a candidate today, but a relationship that I’d begun with many people in this movement the last several years, to speak up on behalf of a quiet cancer that threatens to kill the American Dream that allowed me to achieve everything I have in my life.”
Some lawmakers in attendance, like Waltz and Hageman, had already thrown their support behind former President Donald Trump’s 2024 bid — by far considered the most likely primary winner. Poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight projects Ramaswamy’s current support at 2.5%, and while he’s netted some state-level backers, he has yet to be endorsed by a sitting federal legislator.
But it has not deterred Ramaswamy, who pledged to speak to anyone who wants to discuss his campaign.
“Today I’m actually happy to announce coming out of this meeting, I’ll be the first person to sign the ‘Talk to Anyone’ pledge. We in this movement will not just talk to certain wings of the media. And so I’m proud to lead the way, and I’ll be the first signatory of this new pledge coming out of the discussion we had today. That left wing media, right wing media, university campuses, Black communities, White communities, it doesn’t matter. I’m the first to sign the pledge that we in our movement will talk to anybody, and practice what we preach when it comes to free speech,” he said.
Ramaswamy told the gathered lawmakers earlier in the session, “The way we defeat the woke agenda is by diluting it to irrelevance with a vision of what it means to be an American and why you’re proud to be American.”
“One myth perpetuated by the media is that the Republicans fighting against wokeness can’t define it. I can tell you that’s false,” he said. “Wokeness refers to a philosophy in America, which says that your identity is based on the color of your skin, your race, your gender, or your sexual orientation, and that you’re either oppressed or you’re an oppressor, depending on your genetic characteristics. And furthermore, that you have to do everything you can even through the private sector, to correct for those injustices to have left defines it, it’s how the right should define it.”
The businessman-turned-politician was at one point forced to defend his position when asked whether he believed racism played any role in societal divisions today.
“There is no winner in the oppression Olympics in America. The only loser is America itself in the end, so at some point, I think we have to stop driving with our eyes in the rearview mirror,” Ramaswamy said. “I think the right way we do that is by ceasing and stopping this obsession with our skin-deep diversity and differences and start celebrating our true strength, not our diversity, but what united us across those diverse attributes — that American dream.”