Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy

Profile image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Credentials

Background

Vivek Ramaswamy is a venture capitalist who made his fortune in the biotech industry. He is known for writing a book titled Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, which criticizes the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement3Sheelah Kolhatkar. “Vivek Ramaswamy, the C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc.The New Yorker, December 12, 2022. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/y9oYN, and has been described as “the right’s most prominent crusader against climate-conscious investing.”4Jael Holzman and Andrew Freedman. “The right’s anti-ESG crusader,” Axios, February 3, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. In 2023, Ramaswamy announced his intention to run for president of the United States as a Republican candidate.5Josh Kraushaar. “‘Woke, Inc.’ author launches GOP presidential campaign,” Axios, February 21, 2023. Archived August 28, 2023.

On his campaign website, Ramaswamy boasted that “Left leaning media has called him one of the ‘intellectual godfathers of the anti-woke movement’ (Politico) and the ‘right’s leading anti-ESG crusader’ (Axios and Bloomberg). He was dubbed ‘The C.E.O. of Anti-Woke,’ by The New Yorker.6Meet Vivek,” Vivek2024. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5uO2s

He has appeared regularly on Fox News, which Media Matters suggested has played a major part in his campaign for office.7Eric Kleefeld. “Fox News creates a fake presidential campaign for Vivek Ramaswamy,Media Matters for America, February 24, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mis5W On Fox News, he has criticized “cultural totalitarianism,” and became established as what one host described as Fox’s “woke and cancel-culture guru.”8Sheelah Kolhatkar. “Vivek Ramaswamy, the C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc.The New Yorker, December 12, 2022. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/y9oYN When Ramaswamy launched his campaign for the White House, he declared there was a “national identity crisis” driven by a left-wing ideology that has replaced “faith, patriotism and hard work” with “new secular religions like COVID-ism, climate-ism and gender ideology.”9‘Woke, Inc.’ author Vivek Ramaswamy enters White House race,AP, February 21, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Eikk8

In 2016, Forbes listed Ramaswamy among the richest entrepreneurs under 40, with a net worth of $600 million at the time.10Vivek Ramaswamy,” Forbes, December 12, 2016. Archived August 12, 2023. In August 2023, Forbes updated his net worth to over $1 billion, making him one of the youngest billionaires in the United States, before a market downturn pulled his net worth just under the $1 billion threshold.11John Hyatt. “How Vivek Ramaswamy Became A Billionaire,” Forbes, August 21, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PXS7e

Ramaswamy was a partner at the hedge fund QVT Financial from 2007 to 2014. He launched the U.S. biotech company Roivant Sciences in January 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.12Vivek Ramaswamy,” LinkedIn. Accessed September 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. QVT Financial was a major in initial backer of Roivant even though Ramaswamy no longer worked there.13Vivek Ramaswamy,” Forbes, December 12, 2016. Archived August 12, 2023.

Ramaswamy stepped down as chairman of Roivant Sciences in February 2023 when he announced his candidacy for president.14Trip Gabriel. “Ramaswamy Investments Seem at Odds With His Position on ‘Woke’ Culture,” The New York Times, July 7, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lv7CL However, at the time, the New York Times reported that his federal disclosures listed his holdings in the company as “over $50 million,” the largest category on the form.

One of Ramaswamy’s ventures was an investment in the experimental Alzheimer’s drug Intepirdine.15Jamie Smyth. “Vivek Ramaswamy’s FDA ‘corruption’ claims disavowed by Roivant,” Financial Times, September 3, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qM9WJ He initially acquired it under Roivant, and then developed it under a Roivant subsidiary he created named Axovant. When the drug failed a clinical trial in 201716Lisa LaMotta. “Ramaswamy has no regrets about Axovant,” BiopharmaDive, February 13, 2018. Archived September 5, 2023, Axovant’s shares collapsed, losing 75 percent of their value in a single day.17Jamie Smyth. “Vivek Ramaswamy’s FDA ‘corruption’ claims disavowed by Roivant,” Financial Times, September 3, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qM9WJ 18Jonathan Weisman, Rebecca Robbins, and Maureen Farrell. “How Vivek Ramaswamy Made the Fortune Fueling His Presidential Run,” The New York Times, June 27, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mfXrl However, as The New York Times reported: “Thanks to the way [Ramaswamy] structured his biotechnology empire, he did not hold a direct stake in Axovant. His personal stake was through Roivant, allowing Mr. Ramaswamy to weather the storm. QVT, the hedge fund where Mr. Ramaswamy once worked, had also invested in Roivant, insulating it from much of the fallout.”19Jonathan Weisman, Rebecca Robbins, and Maureen Farrell. “How Vivek Ramaswamy Made the Fortune Fueling His Presidential Run,” The New York Times, June 27, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mfXrl

Previously, in 2015, Ramaswamy had sold off a portion of his Roivant shares to Viking Global Investors, bringing him more than $37 million in capital gains according to his tax returns, which were reviewed by The New York Times.20Jonathan Weisman, Rebecca Robbins, and Maureen Farrell. “How Vivek Ramaswamy Made the Fortune Fueling His Presidential Run,” The New York Times, June 27, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mfXrl Ramaswamy claimed selling the shares was not an effort to hedge his bets: “We were forced to sell,” he said, “and in some ways it’s a regret because the shares would be more valuable today if they hadn’t been sold.”21Jonathan Weisman, Rebecca Robbins, and Maureen Farrell. “How Vivek Ramaswamy Made the Fortune Fueling His Presidential Run,” The New York Times, June 27, 2023. Archived September 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mfXrl

Ramaswamy went on to co-found the investment company Strive Asset Management with Anson Frericks in January 2022.22(Press Release). “Strive Asset Management Exceeds Half a Billion in AUM, 3 Months After Launch,” Businesswire, November 15, 2022. Archived September 5, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GEpcL Among other investors, billionaire Peter Thiel and Ramaswamy’s law school friend and U.S. Sen. JD Vance, backed Strive Asset Management. The firm intended to compete with BlackRock,23Sheelah Kolhatkar. “Vivek Ramaswamy, the C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc.The New Yorker, December 12, 2022. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/y9oYN and The Guardian reported it launched “to attack environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies among corporate investors.”24Martin Pengelly. “‘He’s an insider’: Ramaswamy’s deep ties to rightwing kingpins revealed,” The Guardian, August 25, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5hwiN

While Ramaswamy has described himself as an “outsider” and has accused rivals of being “bought and paid for” by major donor interests, The Guardian reported Ramaswamy maintained ties to “rightwing mega-donor” Leonard Leo, who has become known for his push to appoint conservative judges to the federal court through a network of non-profit groups, as well as Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir.25Heidi Przybyla. “Dark money and special deals: How Leonard Leo and his friends benefited from his judicial activism,” Politico, March 1, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/j273o 26Martin Pengelly. “‘He’s an insider’: Ramaswamy’s deep ties to rightwing kingpins revealed,The Guardian, August 25, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5hwiN

Ramaswamy is a member of the advisory board of the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC), a group launched by Jordan Peterson in 2023 with close ties to GB News.27ARC’s Advisory Board,” ARC, Archived May 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bIJQt Prominent climate change contrarians and deniers are also members of the board, including the “skeptical environmentalist” Bjørn Lomborg; former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is also a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation; and Michael Shellenberger. DeSmog has previously reported on the close ties between ARC and the Dubai-based Legatum Group, an investment fund that also serves as the principal backer of GB News.28Adam Barnett and Joey Grostern. “Climate Science Denial Looms Large in GB News Linked ‘ARC’ Venture,” DeSmog, September 5, 2023. Ramaswamy is also a board member of the Philanthropy Roundtable and of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), both groups with ties to the Koch brothers or their funding network.29Vivek Ramaswamy,Philanthropy Roundtable. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UYVz4

Ramaswamy’s Investments and Holdings

While Ramaswamy has opposed the ESG investing strategies of other groups, the New York Times reported that he counts among his investments holdings of between $1 million and $5 million in Microsoft, $250,000 to $500,000 in Home Depot, $500,000 to $1 million in Lockheed Martin, and $500,000 to $1 million in Waste Management. “All adhere to various E.S.G. principles, according to reports posted on their websites,” the New York Times reported.30Ramaswamy Investments Seem at Odds With His Position on ‘Woke’ Culture,” The New York Times, July 7, 2023. Archived July 8, 2023. He also holds between $1,000,001 and $5 million in JPMorgan Chase & Co, another group he has also criticized in the past.31You should not be able to discriminate against someone with regard to politics: Vivek Ramaswamy,” Fox Business, October 13, 2022. Archived August 31, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

According to his financial disclosures, Ramaswamy also holds between $5,000,001 and $25 million in the online video platform Rumble,32Ray Hartmann. “A GOP presidential hopeful isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: reports,Raw Story, July 7, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WWsTx which has been criticized for providing content containing misinformation and promoting conspiracy theories.33Rumble Sends Viewers Tumbling Toward Misinformation,” Wired, May 11, 2021. Archived September 7, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/4lm3X

BlackRock Investments

Ramaswamy has described BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard as “the most powerful cartel in human history” on Fox News.34Danielle Wallace. “Vivek Ramaswamy rips BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard as ‘the most powerful cartel in human history’,Fox Business, August 21, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gc6Uc

“This raises serious fiduciary, antitrust, and conflict-of-interest concerns. As President I will cut off the real hand that guides the ESG movement — not the invisible hand of the free market, but the invisible fist of government itself,” Ramaswamy said.

Despite these statements, Ramaswamy’s financial disclosures suggest he holds value in several BlackRock products, including:35Ray Hartmann. “A GOP presidential hopeful isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: reports,Raw Story, July 7, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WWsTx

View a searchable list of Ramaswamy’s financial disclosures below, collected by DeSmog, based on the original file reported on by Raw Story.40Ray Hartmann. “A GOP presidential hopeful isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: reports,Raw Story, July 7, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WWsTx

DRLL

Strive Asset Management offers DRLL, an exchange traded fund (ETF) that “seeks broad market exposure to the U.S. energy sector.”41DRLL: Strive U.S. Energy ETF,Strive Asset Management. Archived August 30, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0xJ4J The energy sub-sectors available for inclusion in the fund are “crude petroleum, natural gas, bituminous coal, hydroelectric power, nuclear electric power, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and related services up and down the U.S. energy supply chain.”42DRLL: Strive U.S. Energy ETF,Strive Asset Management. Archived August 30, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0xJ4J

According to Strive’s promotional materials: “We believe the energy sector is due for significant multiple expansion as investors realize that oil & gas will not disappear in the foreseeable future.” The materials offer encouragement that “regulatory constraints are quietly being rolled back,” noting:43The bull case for US Energy runs through DRLL” (PDF), Strive Asset Management, August 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  • “The Supreme Court struck down the EPA’s attempt to force coal and gas producers to subsidize renewables in West Virginia v. EPA (June 2022) which will lead to the removal of significant regulatory constraints.”
  • “Potential November 2022 ‘red wave’ along with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin’s pro-energy
    commitments, will lead to further deregulation.”
  • “The Biden administration is taking steps to open public lands to develop fossil fuel.”

The promotional materials also suggest that efforts by other funds, like BlackRock, to align lobbying policies with the goals of the Paris Climate Accords were among actions that “directly undermine the interests of shareholders in the U.S. energy sector”:

Strive Asset Management listed the following holdings in its DRLL fund as of August 30, 2023:44DRLL: Strive U.S. Energy ETF,Strive Asset Management. Archived August 30, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0xJ4J

% of Net AssetsNameShares HeldMarket Value
21.28%EXXON MOBIL CORP700,130$76,881,275.30
14.77%CHEVRON CORP NEW333,706$53,379,611.76
7.44%CONOCOPHILLIPS228,429$26,876,956.14
4.33%SCHLUMBERGER LTD268,723$15,645,053.06
3.90%EOG RES INC110,202$14,089,325.70
3.17%MARATHON PETE CORP80,067$11,471,199.09
2.89%PIONEER NAT RES CO43,900$10,437,664.00
2.70%PHILLIPS 6686,552$9,753,544.88
2.47%VALERO ENERGY CORP67,980$8,931,892.20
2.28%OCCIDENTAL PETE CORP131,801$8,224,382.40
2.24%HESS CORP52,309$8,091,156.12
2.21%WILLIAMS COS INC229,253$7,996,344.64
2.10%EXELON CORP187,536$7,595,208.00
2.05%CHENIERE ENERGY INC45,317$7,418,392.90
1.91%BAKER HUGHES COMPANY191,045$6,896,724.50
1.82%HALLIBURTON CO169,639$6,573,511.25
1.79%KINDER MORGAN INC DEL370,047$6,457,320.15
1.69%DEVON ENERGY CORP NEW120,256$6,100,586.88
1.52%ONEOK INC NEW84,287$5,499,726.75
1.36%DIAMONDBACK ENERGY INC32,527$4,917,757.13
1.09%COTERRA ENERGY INC140,717$3,947,111.85
0.99%TARGA RES CORP41,931$3,593,486.70
0.88%ATMOS ENERGY CORP27,154$3,183,806.50
0.84%MARATHON OIL CORP116,171$3,036,709.94
0.80%EQT CORP67,690$2,893,070.60
0.76%Cash & Other2,754,013$2,754,012.60
0.70%APA CORPORATION57,835$2,519,870.95
0.63%AES CORP125,952$2,293,585.92
0.60%OVINTIV INC45,591$2,154,174.75
0.58%NISOURCE INC77,816$2,081,578.00
0.51%CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP21,185$1,829,536.60
0.43%NOV INC73,786$1,544,340.98
0.43%HF SINCLAIR CORP27,280$1,535,591.20
0.39%RANGE RES CORP44,879$1,426,703.41
0.37%ANTERO RESOURCES CORP49,830$1,331,955.90
0.35%MATADOR RES CO20,622$1,270,315.20
0.34%MURPHY OIL CORP27,4671,244,255.10
0.34%SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO184,754$1,224,919.02
0.33%CHORD ENERGY CORPORATION7,607$1,201,373.51
0.29%NOBLE CORP PLC20,703$1,048,399.92
0.29%CIVITAS RESOURCES INC12,822$1,030,247.70
0.28%PBF ENERGY INC21,338$1,016,755.70
0.28%TRANSOCEAN LTD127,950$,015,923.00
0.27%BROOKFIELD RENEWABLE CORP33,810$982,286.16
0.26%DT MIDSTREAM INC18,285$953,562.75
0.25%SM ENERGY CO22,363$918,672.04
0.25%IDACORP INC9,413$907,036.68
0.24%NATIONAL FUEL GAS CO16,554$878,851.86
0.23%NEXTERA ENERGY PARTNERS LP16,533$838,057.77
0.23%SOUTHWEST GAS HLDGS INC13,083$831,686.31
0.21%MAGNOLIA OIL & GAS CORP33,323$763,429.93
0.21%HELMERICH & PAYNE INC18,601$758,548.78
0.21%ANTERO MIDSTREAM CORP61,023$749,362.44
0.20%MDU RES GROUP INC35,933$724,049.95
0.18%PERMIAN RESOURCES CORP46,931$645,301.25
0.17%SUNRUN INC39,493$598,713.88
0.16%ENLINK MIDSTREAM LLC46,641$586,277.37
0.16%PLAINS GP HLDGS L P35,767$573,702.68
0.12%NEW FORTRESS ENERGY INC14,351$431,821.59
0.11%CLEARWAY ENERGY INC15,465$393,429.60
0.06%HESS MIDSTREAM LP7,594$220,757.58
0.04%CLEARWAY ENERGY INC5,580$134,310.60

Strive’s promotional materials indicate that it would support shareholder resolutions that rescind resolutions to reduce scope 3 emissions:

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Funding

Below is an export of donors listed in the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for Vivek 2024, Ramaswamy’s Presidential committee.45Receipts: VIVEK 2024 (C00833913),” Federal Election Commission. Retrieved November 17, 2023. Archived data on file at DeSmog.

Some notable names include Gerald O’Shaughnessy, a prior attendee of Koch Network events.46Koch Network,” SourceWatch. Accessed November 17, 2023.

Other Backers

The Washington Post reported that venture capitalist David Sacks,”47David Sacks,” Craft. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/fURxq formerly a backer of Gov. Ron DeSantis, had since “soured on DeSantis, according to two people familiar with his thinking, and has thrown fundraisers for rivals Vivek Ramaswamy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr, then running as a Democrat.”48Elizabeth Dwoskin, Maeve Reston, and Hannah Knowles. “Why Silicon Valley billionaires like Peter Thiel turned against Trump,” The Washington Post, November 12, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gtvRB

Vivek Ramaswamy and State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF)

Ramaswamy has been a speaker for and received an award49Past Events,” SFOF. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/wXqcf from the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), a group that has been reported as “a key coordinator of opposition to climate action in the financial industry.50Internal Documents Shed Light on SFOF’s Attack on Climate Policy,Documented, August 5, 2022. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/IWJCq

“SFOF’s anti-climate advocacy is part of a multifaceted campaign to weaponize state treasurers’ offices against climate change measures. The attacks by SFOF treasurers on climate policy take a variety of forms, including promoting pro-fossil fuel legislation, opposing federal appointments, organizing and filing comments on federal rules, and advancing attacks on specific ‘woke’ asset managers,” Documented reported in 2022.51Internal Documents Shed Light on SFOF’s Attack on Climate Policy,Documented, August 5, 2022. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/IWJCq

On February 12, 2022, Vivek Ramaswamy spoke at a SFOF meeting on a panel titled “China Discussion: Why Should We Be Concerned?”52David Armiak. “Republican Group of State Financial Officers Takes on Woke Capitalism,” ExposedbyCmd, February 16, 2022. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/B2PAs

Stance on Climate Change

According to Heated, “Ramaswamy’s style of fossil fuel boosterism, as described by the New Republic, is on the rise in Republican circles.” Emily Atkin added:

“So as we continue to hear it, it’s important to remember two things:53Emily Atkin. “How Vivek Ramaswamy makes money from climate denial,Heated, August 28, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Md1EH

  1. If someone says climate change does not pose a massive threat to human life, economies, and ecosystems, then they are denying the science of climate change.
  2. If someone says climate change can be effectively managed without reducing the use of fossil fuels, then they are denying the science of climate change.

“Ramaswamy didn’t flat-out say that climate change is a hoax. But in the debate and in follow-up interviews, Ramaswamy made clear he doesn’t believe climate change poses a massive threat to human life, and doesn’t believe that transitioning away from fossil fuels will help.”

August 27, 2023

Ramaswamy posted on the social media platform X, referencing an interview he conducted with CNN: “40 years ago they told us an ice age was imminent. Now they tell us that the global warming is an existential threat to humanity. Which is it? […]”5440 years ago they told us an ice age was imminent. Now they tell us that the global warming is an existential threat to humanity. […]“Tweet by user “@VivekGRamaswamy,” August 27, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

During the CNN interview, he repeated many of the arguments he has made in the past about carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change. He said: “I think we should focus on adaptation and mastery of any change in the climate though technological advances powered by fossil fuels and other forms of energy.”

Ramaswamy added, “Right now, most people who are dying are dying, actually, of lack of access to energy at all, not because of the effects of climate change. The models that you described are, I think, badly fabricated. And if you want a good piece of evidence for this, remember in the 1970s, that’s not that long ago.

“In the 1970s, the same expert class was warning of a global ice age if we didn’t stop using fossil fuels. That same expert class is now warning of global warming. So I think it is a fatal conceit of false hubris. And the reality is we should focus on human flourishing, not carbon emissions. That’s what we should measure.”

August 24, 2023

Following the debate between candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Ramaswamy posted to X:55I was the only one on stage last night not bought & paid for by Super PACs so I can speak freely. […]” Tweet by user “@VivekGRamaswamy,” August 24, 2023.

“I was the only one on stage last night not bought & paid for by Super PACs so I can speak freely. Here’s the TRUTH: the climate disaster death rate has declined by 98% over the last century, even as carbon emissions have risen. The average person is 50X less likely to die of a climate-related cause than in 1920. Why? Fossil fuels. An inconvenient truth for the climate cult. The real emergency isn’t climate change, it’s the man-made disaster of climate change policies that threaten U.S. prosperity.”

August 23, 2023

During the Republican debate, Ramaswamy claimed: “The climate change agenda is a hoax. … The reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.”56At first GOP debate, Ramaswamy becomes chief target,” YouTube video uploaded by user “NBC News,” August 23, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post fact-checked Ramaswamy’s claim and found it to be false.57Glenn Kessler. “Vivek Ramaswamy says ‘hoax’ agenda kills more people than climate change,” The Washington Post, August 25, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oymb5

Ramaswamy repeated this statement on X:

August 4, 2023

On an episode of Firing Line with Margaret Hoover on PBS, Margaret Hoover asked Ramaswamy about what the term “climatism” means, a term she suggests Ramaswamy coined:58Vivek Ramaswamy | Full Episode 8.4.23 | Firing Line with Margaret Hoover | PBS,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover,” August 4, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“I think it refers to an ideology that says we have to abandon fossil fuels and carbon emissions at all cost to stave off existential climate risks for humanity. I think that is a religious conviction. It is not a scientific conviction. So I think we have to reckon with the facts to say that our global surface temperature is going up. Yes, it appears to. That’s a fact.

“Because of broadly manmade causes, including but not limited to the emission of carbon and also non manmade causes. Yes. Is that an existential risk for humanity? No, it is not. Does that mean that we should abandon or even abate the use of carbon or carbon dioxide emissions? No, it does not in my book. I think the right question we should be asking is what advances human prosperity? That’s what I care about. That’s what I will care about measuring as the leader of this country rather than obsessing over a cult of carbon.”

Hoover followed up, asking, “When people point to the 101 degree water temperatures in Florida or the heat waves throughout the country or the unparalleled storms and climate events, how do you respond?

Ramaswamy said, “I respond by saying that if the same shoe fit the other foot and you disagreed with that policy and somebody else were picking up anecdotal data from the middle of Arkansas who didn’t go to Harvard, you’d be laughing them off the stage as a bunch of rubes who didn’t know how to follow data based on anecdotal evidence.”

May 12, 2023

Ramaswamy commented during WMUR News 9’s “Conversation with the Candidate” program:59Conversation with the Candidate: Who is Vivek Ramaswamy?” YouTube video uploaded by user “WMUR-TV,” May 12, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“So, man-made climate change appears to be real. However, I think there is no evidence to suggest that it is an existential risk to humanity. To the contrary, I think the best way to adapt to any climate change is always the plan, the best way we adapt to it as human beings is through more usage of fossil fuels, drilling, fracking, even burning coal, and also embracing nuclear energy.

“I think there’s some inconvenient truths for the climate cult movement, as I call them. First of all, for every 100 people that died in the year 1920, only two died today of a climate-related disaster. Why is that? Because of technological advances, powered, of all things, by fossil fuels. So I care more about human prosperity, human flourishing. That’s what I think we should be measuring, not how much carbon we emit into the atmosphere.”

“And I know that’s a controversial thing to say, I but I think that we can actually unite around that principle, that it shouldn’t be our impact on the climate, we should look at what is the climate’s impact on the way human beings live their lives, but not just the climate, how human beings can actually flourish, and I favor economic growth over following this really false theory of changing our behavior.”

February 23, 2023

Ramaswamy tweeted the following:60Here’s the dirty little secret about the new climate religion:[…],” Tweet by user “@VivekGRamaswamy,” February 23, 2023. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

“Here’s the dirty little secret about the new climate religion: it has *nothing* to do with the climate.

If the climate religion was really about climate change, then they’d be worried about, say, shifting oil production from the U.S. to places like Russia and China.”

Along with that tweet, he posted a video of what appears to be an event at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics. In the video, Ramaswamy described the “climate change movement” as “part of this global degrowth movement.” He added: “My friend Alex Epstein speaks about this brilliantly.” Alex Epstein provides speaking and consulting services to the energy industry,61Communications Consulting,” Alex Epstein. Archived October 30, 2014. where he has put forward what he describes as “the moral case for fossil fuels.”62PBPA Speaker: Debate over fossil fuels should center on human flourishing,” MRT, March 22, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/uCWVW

February 21, 2023

Ramaswamy said the following on the February 21, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:63From the February 21, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight,Media Matters for America, Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“I think that’s the kind of courage we’re going to need to muster. To go after these sacred cows from woke religion in the form of affirmative action to this new climate religion, which is completely shackling the American economy and culture. We need to take the most sacred cows of these alternative secular religions and, I’m sorry to say this, take them to the slaughter house. Because that’s what it’s going to take for this national revival where we stop apologizing for what it means to be American.”64From the February 21, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight,Media Matters for America, Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

February 14, 2023

“The climate religion has about as much to do with the climate as the Spanish Inquisition had to do with Christ,” Ramaswamy tweeted.”It’s just using a new god (‘Climate’) to punish people & exercise power.”65The climate religion has about as much to do with the climate as the Spanish Inquisition had to do with Christ. […]” Tweet by user “@VivekGRamaswamy,” February 13, 2023. Archived .png on file at DeSmog

In the tweet he included a video segment of one of his Fox News interviews with Tucker Carlson.

He said in the interview:

“Here’s the dirty little secret about the climate religion: it has nothing to do with the climate, and everything to do with making the West and America in particular apologize for its success, which it views as a sin.”

Key Quotes

August 21, 2023

Ramaswamy commented in an interview with ABC News:66Vivek Ramaswamy: Trump was ‘excellent,’ but America ‘needs an outsider’ as president,” ABC News, August 21, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“I call it America First 2.0, and the reality is, I think Trump was an excellent President. He laid a great foundation on policies that many people who aren’t even Republicans quietly agree with now. Building the border wall — controversial then, widely accepted today.

“The truth is I’m going further than Trump did. Building the wall is insufficient. There are cartel finance tunnels underneath that wall. I support using the U.S. military to secure our southern border.”67Vivek Ramaswamy: Trump was ‘excellent,’ but America ‘needs an outsider’ as president,” ABC News, August 21, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

August 4, 2023

On an episode of Firing Line with Margaret Hoover on PBS, with reference to his previous comments that Republican candidates should pardon former President Donald Trump, Margaret Hoover asked Ramaswamy why he would “plant the pardon flag … without seeing all of the evidence that prosecutors have against him.”68Vivek Ramaswamy | Full Episode 8.4.23 | Firing Line with Margaret Hoover | PBS,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover,” August 4, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Ramaswamy responded:

“The narrow answer is I would pardon him because I think that his behaviors did not obviously constitute illegal violation, even as stated in those indictments. That’s the narrow answer. The deeper answer and the one that really moves me is that I think it will set an awful national precedent for us to become a country in which the ruling party, whoever it is, uses police power to indict its political rivals. That is the stuff of banana republics. That is not the stuff of the United States of America.”69Vivek Ramaswamy | Full Episode 8.4.23 | Firing Line with Margaret Hoover | PBS,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover,” August 4, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

He later added:

“If the facts are dramatically different, we’re talking about selling secrets to foreign adversaries, for example, I would change my judgment on that. But on these facts, there’s no doubt that I will pardon Donald Trump, because I think that’s the right thing for the country.”

On the program, Ramaswamy also summarized his definition of “wokeism”:

“So I’ll start with what wokeism is. It is a worldview that says that your identity is based on your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, or other genetically inherited attributes. That we we are either oppressors or oppressed based on those genetic characteristics. And that it is our obligation to reorder those injustices and social relationships. Woke capitalism is the extension of using capitalism commerce as a means to address those injustices, racial injustice and climate change. I think that this is a mistake on two counts.

“One is, I think it actually leads companies to be less successful over the long run. Milton Friedman made that case. I’ve made a revised case of it in my book, Margaret. That’s not even my main reason for being against it. My main reason for being against this trend of stakeholder capitalism, what you could also refer to as woke capitalism, is that it is a perversion of how a constitutional republic, a democratic society is supposed to work. What the model of stakeholder capitalism calls for us to say that, no, no, no, we the people, can’t be trusted to sort out our differences on climate change or on social justice, but that we have to actually trust an enlightened group of elites to determine for the rest of society what the right answers are to those questions. Using commerce as a vehicle to do it. And so you want to talk about threats to democracy. I think that’s pretty high on the list, actually. And that’s been the source of my criticism over the last several years.”

February 23, 2023

Ramaswamy appeared Fox News’ Hannity, commenting:70From the February 23, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Hannity,” Media Matters for America. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“I am going to shut down federal agencies. Earlier today, I put out my proposal to actually shut down the Department of Education, which should not exist. That’s just the first of many government agencies that I am pledging to shut down as the next president.

“I am dismantling this climate religion. We have been addicted to a climate religion that shackled the United States while leaving China untouched. So I think it’s about taking it to the next level as far as I see it.”

Key Actions

August 29, 2023

Ramaswamy appeared for an interview with Jordan Peterson where he claimed he is “an outsider not beholden to the donor class.”71Vivek Ramaswamy & Jordan Peterson: I’m an Outsider Not Beholden to the Donor Class,” YouTube videos uploaded by user “Vivek Ramaswamy,” August 29, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog,

“Mass layoffs are absolutely what I am bringing to the D.C. bureaucracy,” Ramaswamy said. “I have said I will lay off over 75 percent of the federal employee bureaucrat headcount by the end of the first term. Fifty percent by the end of the first year.”

August 23, 2023

During the 2023 GOP debate, Ramaswamy made the following declaration:

“Let us be honest as Republicans. I am the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for so I can say this. The climate change agenda is a hoax. The climate change agenda is a hoax, and we have to declare independence. And the reality is, the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy, and so the reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.”72At first GOP debate, Ramaswamy becomes chief target,” YouTube video uploaded by user “NBC News,” August 23, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post fact-checked Ramaswamy’s claims.

In its fact check, the New York Times found that during the debate, Ramaswamy “made inaccurate claims about climate change as well as the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, while mischaracterizing his own positions and past comments.”

Regarding Ramaswamy’s comment that “more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change,” the New York Times found “There is no evidence to support this assertion.”

The New York Times added: “A spokeswoman for Mr. Ramaswamy cited a 2022 column in the libertarian publication ‘Reason’ that argued that limiting the use of fossil fuels would hamper the ability to deliver power, heat homes and pump water during extreme weather events. But the campaign did not provide examples of climate change policies actually causing deaths.”

The World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, estimated in May that extreme weather events, compounded by climate change, caused nearly 12,000 disasters and a death toll of 2 million between 1970 and 2021.”

The Washington Post gave Ramaswamy’s statement a rating of “Four Pinocchios,” the least factual of their ratings, concluding:73Glenn Kessler. “Vivek Ramaswamy says ‘hoax’ agenda kills more people than climate change,” The Washington Post, August 25, 2023. Archived August 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oymb5

“No matter how you slice it, credible research has concluded that thousands of people a year die because of the effects of climate change. We can’t find data that suggests green energy policies actually kill even more people — and Ramaswamy’s campaign did not provide any source for his claim. He earns Four Pinocchios.”

August 8, 2023

Bloomberg reported Vivek Ramaswamy was the subject of two independent lawsuits from former employees, alleging Strive, Ramaswamy, and Strive co-founder Anson Frericks were involved in “pushing employees to violate securities law and of mistreating staff.” Bloomberg added: “They also suggest that the company has struggled to meet lofty growth goals for its ‘anti-ESG’ investments.”74Max Chafkin. “GOP Presidential Hopeful Ramaswamy Sued Over Strive’s Practices,” Bloomberg, August 18, 2023. Archived August 31, 2023.

“Strive intends to vigorously defend itself,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. “Beyond that, it is our policy not to comment on active litigation.”

Bloomberg summarized:

“The first suit, filed in Kansas by a regional sales chief who was dismissed as part of a reorganization in March, also says Ramaswamy misrepresented the company’s finances to employees and investors, exaggerating its growth when pitching venture capitalists and recruiting staff. The former employee, John Phillips, claims he was induced to leave a job at JPMorgan that would have paid him more than $1 million in 2022, based on promises made by Ramaswamy and others that Strive was well financed and that Ramaswamy was dedicated to the company.

“In reality, according to the suit, Strive was ‘undercapitalized,’ and Ramaswamy was planning a presidential bid. The suit was filed in June, three months after Phillips claims he was fired by Strive without cause. Strive has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

“In the second suit, filed Aug. 8 in a Union County, New Jersey, court, [Joyce] Rosely claims she was fired as co-head of institutional sales in retaliation for raising concerns about sexual harassment at the firm and violations of securities laws. She contends she saw a Strive executive make aggressive sexual advances toward a more junior staffer.”

Strive went on to shuffle its legal team following the lawsuits.75Brian Baxter. “Ramaswamy’s Strive Firm Parts Ways With Top Lawyer Amid Lawsuits,Bloomberg Law, August 25, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nPmjS

March 3, 2023

Ramaswamy gave a keynote address at the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s 2023 policy summit.76Keynote Address by Vivek Ramaswamy | Texas Policy Summit 2023,” YouTube, March 3, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

February 21, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy announced he was running for president of the United States as a Republican candidate on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show.77Josh Kraushaar. “‘Woke, Inc.’ author launches GOP presidential campaign,” Axios, February 21, 2023. Archived August 28, 2023.

“What the conservative movement needs to do is more than just criticize the poison that fills the void but fill the vacuum with a vision of American national identity that runs so deep that it dilutes these other religions, from wokism to Islamism,” he said in an interview with Axios.78Josh Kraushaar. “‘Woke, Inc.’ author launches GOP presidential campaign,” Axios, February 21, 2023. Archived August 28, 2023.

Ramaswamy argued he was one of the first to speak against “woke capitalism” and the rise of the ESG movement.79Josh Kraushaar. “‘Woke, Inc.’ author launches GOP presidential campaign,” Axios, February 21, 2023. Archived August 28, 2023.

The Independent reported that, according to Ramaswamy, “We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis. Faith, patriotism and hard work have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions like Covidism, climatism and gender ideology.”80Maroosha Muzaffar. “Biotech millionaire Vivek Ramaswamy launches GOP bid for White House denouncing ‘woke left’,” The Independent, February 22, 2023. Archived August 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lPdmD

“We hunger to be part of something bigger than ourselves, yet we can not even answer the question of what it means to be an American.”

He continued: “Today, the woke left preys on that vacuum and tells Americans that their race, gender and sexual orientation govern who you are, what you can achieve and what you are allowed to think.”

February 22, 2023

Ramaswamy commented on Fox News’ Fox & Friends about his announcement to run for president:81From the February 22, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends,” Media Matters. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“I think it’s important to see the problem with clear eyes: The rise of secular religions like wokeness and climateism in America,” he said.

“As much as I’ve been complaining about woke culture and identifying that problem, I think the way we solve it is by delivering an American national identity that is so powerful that it dilutes those woke agendas to irrelevance.”

He also appeared on the February 22, 2023, edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co.:82From the February 22, 2023, edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co.,Media Matters. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“So I’m an unapologetic America First conservative. I do not apologize about that. But I think to put America first, we need to go further and rediscover what America is. So what I call kind of America First 2.0. And so, you know what? I agree with a lot of President Trump’s policies. I was a big fan of them at the time. I’ve said so many times over. Maybe a little less government spending, but put that to one side. I think the key point for me is revive an American national agenda. I mean, reject affirmative action. Get rid of this climate religion. Lead to this national revival at home that allows us to then stand up to the actual threats we face, like communist China.”

January 7, 2023

Ramaswamy was listed as a speaker at the Heritage Foundation’s “Awakening” event. His luncheon event was titled “Taking on Woke, Inc.: Tackling Identity Politics and ESG in Corporate America.”83Schedule,” Awakening. Archived January 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GNZ5I

October 2022

Ramaswamy reportedly met privately with South Carolina State House Republican lawmakers and the state’s pension plan managers, where he opposed “woke” investment strategies. The Post and Courier reported it had reviewed emails showing “Ramaswamy sought to leverage his GOP connections to gain access to lucrative contracts to manage pension funds that serve roughly one out of nine state residents. Those coffers have total assets of $39.6 billion.”84Clare Fieseler. “Behind closed doors in SC, Ramaswamy pushed private services during ‘anti-woke’ crusade,” The Post and Courier, June 29, 2023. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mZhga

According to the Post and Courier, while no contracts had yet been linked to Strive, “[E]mails obtained by the watchdog group Documented show that the CEO of the S.C. pension commission, Michael Hitchcock, requested information about the financial services of Ramaswamy’s company during the meeting.” They added that “Ramaswamy was able to arrange the meeting with pension officials and state lawmakers after developing a relationship with Loftis, the state’s Republican treasurer since 2011.”85Clare Fieseler. “Behind closed doors in SC, Ramaswamy pushed private services during ‘anti-woke’ crusade,” The Post and Courier, June 29, 2023. Archived August 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mZhga

August 1, 2022

Ramaswamy spoke at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) event. His talk was titled “How States Can Fight the Woke Industrial Complex.”86Vivek Ramaswamy: How States Can Fight the Woke Industrial Complex,” YouTube video uploaded by user “American Legislative Exchange Council,” August 1, 2022. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

June 1, 2022

Ramaswamy was listed as a speaker at a Heritage Foundation event. His talk was titled “The Great Uprising Will Defeat the Great Reset.”87Session Details,” Resourcebank.org. Archived June 16, 2022.

December 15, 2021

According to his financial disclosures,88Vivek Ramaswamy Disclosure Report (7-6-23),” Raw Story via DocumentCloud. Ramaswamy spoke at a David Horowitz Freedom Center event, for which he was paid an honorarium of $17,500.89Ray Hartmann. “A GOP presidential hopeful isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: reports,Raw Story, July 7, 2023. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WWsTx Funders of the Freedom Center include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, according to documents reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy. Additional funders of his projects include the Scaife and Carthage Foundations.90David Horowitz Freedom Center,” SourceWatch. Accessed August 30, 2023. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes David Horowitz as “a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black movements.”91DAVID HOROWITZ,” Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived August 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/YrKHs

June 9, 2021

Ramaswamy spoke at a Manhattan Institute event on “Woke Capitalism and Free Enterprise.”92Woke Capitalism and Free Enterprise,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Manhattan Institute,” June 9, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Books

  • Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam
  • Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence
  • Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn’t Vote For

Other Resources

Resources

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