“It would be a lot easier for me if Donald Trump were not in this primary, but that is not how I want to win this election,” Ramaswamy said at the start of his town hall with NewsNation on Monday night.
The biotech millionaire said Trump’s indictment must be evaluated “in the context of the three that preceded it.” According to reports, a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, handed down 10 indictments related to efforts by the former president to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
“The reality is this, these are politicized persecutions through prosecution, and I say this as somebody who is running in some polls, third,” Ramaswamy said.
Facing Trump is a central challenge the wealthy entrepreneur faces. While voters are increasingly interested in Ramaswamy, it’s Trump who continues to be many conservatives’ favorite.
With the first Republican primary debate in just over a week and the leadoff Iowa caucus five months away, he is delicately working to convince more voters that he could be their nominee.
“The way we do elections in the United States of America is that we the people, you all, get to decide who governs. Not the federal police state. I don’t not want to see us become some banana republic, where the party in power use police force to indict its political opponents in the middle of an election on unprecedented and untested legal theories. That is wrong. And I stand not on the side of self interest but on the side of principle.”
Ramaswamy also said that if becomes president in 2024, he would consult Trump as an adviser.
“I think Trump was an excellent president,” Ramaswamy said.
In the early months of the campaign, Ramaswamy’s numbers have soared in the polls after he initially registered at little more than 0%. Some recent surveys have shown him in third place for the presidential nomination behind front-runner former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A Morning Consult poll updated last week had Ramaswamy at 8%. While that’s nowhere near Trump’s 59% and half of DeSantis’ 16%, it’s still well above other candidates such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, each at 3%, per Morning Consult.