Did you see this coming?
On Monday evening, Vivek Ramaswamy, a participant in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race, made a significant announcement. After a less-than-stellar performance in the Iowa caucuses, Ramaswamy has decided to withdraw from the race. This decision also included a notable gesture of support: he is now endorsing former President Donald Trump, further streamlining the GOP primary field, which Trump is currently leading.
Ramaswamy shared this decision with his supporters in Iowa, emphasizing the end of his campaign. He noted that from the outset, there were two candidates in the race who prioritized America’s interests. Following his conversation with Donald Trump, in which he congratulated Trump on his success, Ramaswamy declared his full endorsement for Trump’s presidential campaign. This announcement wasn’t without its dramatic moments, as evidenced by an attendee’s vocal opposition to Ramaswamy’s endorsement during his speech.
This development follows the trend of other Republican figures, such as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, who have also recently withdrawn from the presidential race. These exits, including Ramaswamy’s, underscore Trump’s dominant position in the current political landscape.
Ramaswamy, a millennial and a newcomer to the political scene, initially entered the race in February 2023 with limited public recognition. Despite showing some early signs of gaining traction, he struggled to compete against not only Trump but other prominent figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Ramaswamy’s policy positions, particularly regarding Israel and Taiwan, drew criticism from his rivals. He proposed an “Abraham Accords 2.0” to integrate Israel into the broader Middle East and reduce dependency on aid post-2028. On Taiwan, he suggested defending the nation until the U.S. achieved semiconductor independence by 2028, after which he proposed a shift in commitment.
However, his stance on foreign policy, especially concerning Taiwan, evolved over time. He later suggested a return to strategic ambiguity post-2028 during an interview with NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell. This shift in position, coupled with his lack of foreign policy experience, was a point of contention, as highlighted by Nikki Haley during a GOP debate.
Interestingly, Ramaswamy was a vocal supporter of Trump during his campaign. He had even circulated a pledge urging fellow 2024 Republican candidates to commit to pardoning Trump for federal charges related to classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s last-minute campaign against Ramaswamy, urging voters not to support him, marked a notable turn in events. Ramaswamy’s departure from the race is a clear indication of Trump’s continuing influence and leadership within the GOP, as reflected in national and local polls. Despite aligning with Trump, Ramaswamy’s campaign ultimately did little to sway voters, including those steadfast in their support for the former president.