As attendees gathered in Maryland for the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy made his pitch to move on from former President Donald Trump, noting several key issues where “he had a chance,” and “didn’t do it.”
By the time the weekend concludes, the latest straw poll will show who the participants at the annual event taking place in National Harbor, Maryland favor out of a list of potential candidates vying for the 2024 GOP nod. With Trump, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Ramaswamy being the only contenders officially in the running thus far, the latter tried to stand out from the front-runner by highlighting specific opportunities Trump had during his administration that were overlooked.
Speaking with the New York Post, the entrepreneur with a net worth estimated at $700 million pointed out executive actions that would be taken to erase those of progressive predecessors such as President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 order on “race-based quotas.”
Trump “could have ended affirmative action with the stroke of a pen. He didn’t,” Ramaswamy said as he promised to repeal Johnson’s Executive Order 11246 were he to win the presidency. Despite the former president’s dedication to building a wall, the Harvard-educated businessman pointed out missed opportunities in securing the border as well stating, “He had a chance to use military force against the cartels — didn’t do it.”
“I would prioritize … the use of the US military to secure our border,” the candidate expressed. “That includes using the military to decimate the cartels, the way you would treat terrorists like Soleimani or Bin Laden.”
Ramaswamy made clear in his conversation with the Post that despite pointing out what he saw as missed chances from Trump, he held the one-time commander-in-chief in high regard noting he “sets a high bar.”
“He’s a friend. I know him. I genuinely believe he cares about national unity,” Ramaswamy stated though the founder of Strive Asset Management also called out the amount of control that was ceded over to Dr. Anthony Fauci during Trump’s last year in office. “I think [Fauci] seized authority that no statute or the Constitution gave him. I think he should have been fired.”
Government overreach has been a central focal point of the fledgling candidate, even before he announced his campaign barely two weeks ago. A stated goal has been to reduce the number of federal agencies deemed unnecessary with the promise to shut down as many as 10 thus far unnamed bureaucracies that included the Department of Education.
“I will shut it down and replace it with something new built from scratch to take its place,” he said of the agency he contended “has no reason to exist.
During his time in front of the CPAC crowd Friday, he also called out Americans’ addiction “to buying cheap stuff” from China as he promoted severing ties with the communist nation in an America First message and, in keeping with the theme of reigning in out of control forces, decried climate zealotry making devastating demands in all fields.
“The climate religion has about as much to do with the climate as the Spanish Inquisition had to do with Christ — which is to say, nothing at all,” he said on stage. “It is about power, dominion, control, punishment, and apologizing for what we have achieved in this country.”
“Both were just about exercising power and punishment” Ramaswamy declared.
Trump will have his turn to speak at CPAC Saturday and it remains to be seen if he will issue any response to his opponents’ remarks. Thus far, the former president has focused his barbs at the only potential Republican candidate that many believe could best him in taking the nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis declined to make an appearance at CPAC this year and instead traveled to Texas Friday to speak at the 2023 Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Harris County GOP in Houston before he is slated to join Saturday’s Reagan Day dinner in Dallas.
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