Business magnate Vivek Ramaswamy withdrew from the 2024 presidential race on Monday evening, following a lackluster performance in the Iowa caucuses. Ramaswamy, who secured the fourth position in Iowa, offered his endorsement to former President Donald Trump. According to NBC News projections, Ramaswamy trailed behind Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, holding only 8% of the GOP caucus vote with over 90% of precincts reporting late on Monday.
In a gracious move, Ramaswamy personally congratulated Trump on his triumph and announced his intention to join the former president at a rally in New Hampshire on the following day. Expressing his support for Trump, Ramaswamy emphasized the need for an “America First” candidate in the presidential race, affirming, “Going forward, he will have my full endorsement for the presidency.”
The 38-year-old entrepreneur, relatively unknown when he entered the political arena in February 2023, rapidly gained traction among Republican voters. His campaign strategy closely aligned with Trump’s in both tone and policy substance, presenting himself as a successor to the MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement.
Despite his efforts to differentiate himself, Ramaswamy struggled to siphon support away from Trump, who maintained a strong grip on Republican voters. The anticipated wave of first-time caucusgoers that Ramaswamy had hoped would boost his campaign in Iowa failed to materialize.
As the Iowa caucuses approached, Ramaswamy’s rhetoric took a more conspiratorial turn, urging supporters to “wake up” and alluding to plots and forces influencing the election. His pitch to Trump enthusiasts became convoluted, discouraging them from voting for Trump due to alleged external interference preventing him from reaching the White House. Ramaswamy cited criminal cases against Trump and legal battles challenging his candidacy on 14th Amendment grounds in Colorado and Maine as reasons to reconsider their support.
Three days prior to the Iowa caucuses, Trump directly addressed Ramaswamy’s characterization of him as “wounded.” On Truth Social, Trump criticized Ramaswamy, stating, “Vivek started his campaign as a great supporter, ‘the best President in generations,’ etc. Unfortunately now all he does is disguise his support in the form of deceitful campaign tricks.”
Ramaswamy’s presidential campaign centered on the promise to extend Trump’s policies if elected. He advocated for the shutdown of several government agencies, including the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Department of Education.
Additionally, he proposed a substantial reduction in the number of federal workers and pledged to deploy the U.S. military to secure both the southern and northern borders.
Another controversial proposal by Ramaswamy involved ending birthright citizenship for American-born children of undocumented immigrants. He argued that the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to those born or naturalized in the United States, was not intended to apply to this demographic.
Throughout the Republican presidential debates, Ramaswamy positioned himself as an adversary to other candidates, particularly former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Nikki Haley. He engaged in repeated clashes with Haley, even going so far as to label her a “puppet” for the “deep state” in the latter stages of his campaign.
While maintaining some rivalry with other candidates, Ramaswamy closely aligned himself with Trump, prompting suggestions from supporters to vie for the vice presidential slot on Trump’s ticket. However, Ramaswamy consistently asserted that he was not a “Plan B” person.
Funding his campaign with millions of dollars from his personal wealth, Ramaswamy held the highest number of public events among his GOP rivals. His extensive campaign efforts included over 300 events in Iowa, covering all 99 counties in the state twice. In a last-ditch effort to bolster his primary chances, Ramaswamy relocated his campaign staff to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire in November.