Aug 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump open to Vivek Ramaswamy as vice president

Former president Trump and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy

Former president Trump and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Photos: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images, Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP

Former President Trump showered Vivek Ramaswamy with praise when asked in an interview if he'd considered the 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur for vice president.

Why it matters: It's the most Trump has weighed in on Ramaswamy's presidential candidacy, revealing his openness to a significantly younger and arguably more radical anti-Washington unknown.

Driving the news: Trump called Ramaswamy "smart" and "young" and "full of talent" when asked by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck what he thinks of a "Vice President Ramaswamy."

  • "He's a very, very, very intelligent person. He's got good energy, and he could be some form of something," Trump said of Ramaswamy. "I tell you, I think he'd be very good."
  • The exchange came less than a week after the first GOP debate, which Trump sat out but promised to watch for potential vice presidential picks.

The intrigue: Trump, in the same interview with Beck, seemed to acknowledge Ramaswamy's tendency to drive controversy, urging him to reign it in.

  • "He's starting to get out there a little bit. He's getting a little bit controversial," Trump said. "I got to tell him: 'Be a little bit careful. Some things you have to hold in just a little bit, right?'"
  • "If I'm a betting woman, I wouldn't expect Vivek to hold back much!" Ramaswamy spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told Axios in response to Trump's suggestion.

The big picture: Over the course of six months, Ramaswamy went from a largely unknown long shot candidate polling at 1% to a serious upstart receiving incoming attacks from GOP contenders including former Vice President Pence, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

  • Ramaswamy built out his brand by taking on any and all media interviews — including the combative ones — and frenetically blitzing across all corners of the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire to introduce himself to voters.
  • He has largely been in line with Trump on most policy issues like abolishing the Department of Education and launching military strikes against Mexico.
  • He's also proposed distinctive ideas like raising the voting age to 25.
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