Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy stood by his earlier statements that he would support former President Donald Trump in the event that Trump was convicted and the GOP nominated him for president.
During an interview with ABC News, Ramaswamy was asked whether he agrees that Trump, who has four felony convictions, can serve as president. In response, Ramaswamy argued that the charges brought against the ex-president were highly politicized.
“I do not want to see us become a banana republic where the administrative police state uses police forces to eliminate opponents from the competition,” Ramaswamy, now consistently polling in third place behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said.
Ramaswamy stated of the Republican nominee, “I will pick who I believe the best next president should be. I’m running for president to move America forward and reunite our country. But let’s assume I’m not the nominee; I believe that a Republican nominee, whether it be Donald Trump or someone else, will be preferable to any Democratic candidate.
Current ABC host and former Clinton White House Press Secretary George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Ramaswamy why he would vote for Trump. He once more brought up the many charges against Trump and the breach at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“What I’ve said is clear: if Donald Trump’s the nominee, yes, I will support him,” Ramaswamy said. “And if I’m the president, yes, I will pardon him because that will help reunite the country, but it’s not the most important thing I will do as the next president.”
Ramaswamy’s poll numbers have increased recently, likely due to last week’s first Republican debate. His positions on Ukraine, Israel, and other issues came under fire from other Republican candidates at the Fox News-hosted event.
Several dozen accusations have been brought against President Trump in four separate proceedings at the state and federal levels. Trump has labeled the investigations as politically motivated witch hunts meant to hurt his reelection prospects, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
According to a post on Truth Social dated September 1, the former president claimed he was railroaded by “a highly partisan and corrupt system of injustice led by an opponent who is losing in the polls and, at the same time, destroying our once Great Country.”
Last week, Trump entered a not-guilty plea to the accusations filed against him by the district attorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, in the wake of the 2020 election. The former president’s lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also entered a not-guilty plea late last week.
In filing his not-guilty plea with the court, the former New York mayor also waived his right to appear at an arraignment hearing set for September 6. He joins the former president and at least ten others in forgoing the journey to Atlanta to appear before a judge in a packed courtroom with a news camera rolling.
Fulton County’s district attorney, Fani Willis, stated her intention to try Trump, Giuliani, and the other 17 defendants in a single trial. However, since the indictment was issued on August 14, a flurry of court documents has marked the beginning of the legal struggle.
Several accused have filed motions to be tried singly or with a few co-defendants, while others have sought to transfer their cases to federal court. Trials for some are expected to begin as early as November thanks to a new regulation from a Georgia court, while others have already asked for extensions.
In his petition on Friday, Giuliani requested further time to file motions in light of the 98-page indictment’s complexity, breadth, and volume. Giuliani asked for at least 30 days after receiving information regarding witnesses and evidence from prosecutors. Typically, pretrial motions are to be filed within ten days after arraignment.
In addition to the lawsuit in Georgia, Trump also faces charges in Manhattan for allegedly falsifying business records concerning payments made during the 2016 election.
The Department of Justice has filed two separate charges against Trump, one involving the 2020 election and another regarding his alleged mishandling of classified information, led by special counsel Jack Smith.