Censorship of Americans’ opinions led to the Capitol riot two weeks before President Donald Trump left office, entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says.
Former Fox News host Tucker Carson questioned Ramaswamy regarding what happened Jan. 6, 2021, during an onstage interview Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Family Leadership Summit, a Christian gathering focused on addressing major political issues facing America.
During the 26-minute interview, Carlson prompted the presidential candidate and businessman to share his views on the day Trump supporters forced their way into the Capitol. At the time, a joint session of Congress was debating certification of the Electoral College results the previous Nov. 3 that showed former Vice President Joe Biden had defeated Trump.
“You want to know what caused Jan. 6, [it was] pervasive censorship in this country in the lead-up to Jan. 6,” Ramaswamy, 37, said. “You tell people in this country they cannot speak, that is when they scream. You tell people they cannot scream, that is when they tear things down.”
When the federal government tells Americans not to question where the COVID-19 virus came from, mandates that Americans get vaccinated or lose their jobs, and permits violent protests and riots in the streets during pandemic lockdowns, he said, “that’s the lead-up of one full year of telling people you have to shut up, sit down, and do as you’re told.”
“And then you tell them, OK, there was an election where you didn’t get the information that you needed, such as the Hunter Biden laptop story being real and suppressed. That’s what caused Jan. 6, is a cycle of censorship in this country,” Ramaswamy told Carlson.
In the weeks before the 2020 election, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies suppressed sharing of the New York Post’s reporting on the contents of an abandoned laptop belonging to the president’s son. Social media also censored views on COVID-19 and other issues that challenged the official perspective.
Those who are “pushing censorship,” Carlson said, “almost all of them in both parties, particularly the Democratic Party, claim they’re doing so in order to protect democracy. But how can you have a democracy with censorship?”
“The best measure of the health of our American democracy or constitutional republic is the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public,” Ramaswamy answered.
Ramaswamy, who in 2014 founded the biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, became the co-founder and executive chairman of Strive Asset Management in 2021.
In his campaign for president, Ramaswamy said, he has tried to personally practice his belief in free speech, telling the audience the story of a woman who entered one of his campaign events yelling. The candidate chose to give her the microphone and hear what she had to say, only to learn they agreed on a great deal.
In that experience and others, the entrepreneur said, he has found that Americans are much less divided than he once thought.
The division America faces isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, but rather “those of us who are pro-American” and those who are “anti-American,” Ramaswamy said. If the nation is divided in this way, he added, the majority is pro-American.
“It’s easily 80/20 in our favor,” Ramaswamy told Carlson.
Many of Ramaswamy’s comments during his conversation with Carlson centered on the need to recognize common ground among Americans.
Ramaswamy, whose parents emigrated from India, said those on the Left who claim America is suffering because of racism are blowing “woke smoke.”
“They’ll say math is racist when in fact, you know, what might be wrong is not teaching kids in the inner city for a year under COVID lockdowns how to do math,” he said. “And then they’re using this [racism charge] to cover up for their failure.”
Since launching his campaign in February and speaking to voters across the country, Ramaswamy said, he has seen that Americans are not as divided as so many fear.
“I think we have an opportunity to do in this country in 2024 what Ronald Reagan did in 1980: Deliver a landslide election [and] call the bluff on the division,” he said.
As a relatively young presidential candidate, Ramaswamy said, he considers himself called to reach the younger generation. That is “why we’re traveling college campuses across this country,” he said, “and I am optimistic about what I see.”
Besides Ramaswamy, Carlson interviewed six Republican presidential candidates during Friday’s summit: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former Vice President Mike Pence; former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The summit marked the first public event at which Carlson has spoken since Fox News abruptly canceled his highly rated show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” in April.
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