Former President Donald J. Trump knocked it completely out of the ballpark with his rousing speech at the weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference where he easily won the event’s straw poll, a measure of popularity that one 2024 GOP candidate claimed may not be on the up-and-up and can be rigged for money.
Biotech entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy told a stunned Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney that his campaign had been reached by an unnamed consultant who offered a second-place finish in the CPAC straw poll in exchange for a considerable amount of cash.
(Video: Fox Business)
The longshot Ramaswamy, who has been dubbed the “CEO of Anti-Woke Inc.” for his willingness to engage with left-wing cultural revolutionaries head-on, made his jaw-dropping remarks during an appearance on Monday’s edition of “Varney & Company” after Varney’s barb that he wasn’t among the top finishers in the poll in which Trump clobbered his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by a whopping 62-20 percent.
After boasting about the “five standing ovations” that he received during his own speech at CPAC, Ramaswamy dished the dirt about how the “sausage” was allegedly made.
“There’s also a little funny little secret that I learned, Stuart,” he said. “I’m new to this as an outsider, one of the things you see as an outsider is how corrupt this system is. You want to know something funny about this? I’ve attended CPAC before, I didn’t know it works this way. A consultant calls my campaign shortly after I declared and says ‘Hey, we can get you up to number two on there if you a pay a few hundred thousand dollars.’
“Really?” Varney asked, clearly shocked by the allegation.
“I was shocked,” Ramaswamy continued. “You know what, there’s a lot of people who are making money, not only off of me but off of every presidential campaign. This will probably be not only the most expensive presidential campaign, the one that people in the industry, politics is an industry, people make so much money off of this that one of the things that I’m gonna be doing throughout this campaign, is exposing it.”
“Because you know what?” Ramaswamy asked. “I didn’t get to where I am by actually just getting exploited and I think the American people actually deserve to see the sausage getting made..”
“Did you pay?” Varney asked.
“Absolutely not,” he replied, “I mean that is fake so…”
“Did you get bumped up to number two?” Varney inquired.
Ramaswamy replied, “I said I would take my speaking slot instead,” referring people who wanted to see his speech to his website. “See the speech and see the crowd’s reaction and I think people should be the judge of what’s really going on in the grassroots rather than the Astroturf that we see in the paid industry of partisan politics.”
An anonymous senior campaign official for Ramaswamy told Politico, “Basically, they were like, if you pay I think it was upward of $100,000, we can get tickets and bus a bunch of people in for the straw poll.”
“I was taken aback, because I’ve never been to CPAC before, and it’s very activist driven but I think if any of them knew it was an artificial poll, they’d be pretty pissed about that,” the unnamed official said.
“A straw poll is a vote that those in attendance get to participate in. If a presidential contender is organized and popular, they can do well,” a CPAC spokesperson said in a response to Politico.
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