Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blamed former president Donald Trump’s handlers for an escalating series of attacks on him over the weekend ahead of the Iowa caucus on Monday, which Trump is projected to win.
Trump launched the attacks on his social media platform Truth Social, where he called out what he said were “deceitful campaign tricks” by the “sly” pharmaceutical executive.
“Don’t get duped by this,” Trump wrote. “Vote for ‘Trump,’ don’t waste your vote! Vivek is not MAGA”
However, Trump’s Truth Social post today was a bit more muted.
“A VOTE FOR VIVEK IS A WASTED VOTE,” Trump added on Monday. “I LIKE VIVEK, BUT HE PLAYED IT TOO ‘CUTE’”’ WITH US. CAUCUS TONIGHT, VOTE FOR DONALD J. TRUMP, BUILD UP THE NUMBERS!!!”
“That wasn’t particularly coherent to me,” Ramaswamy said on Fox News in response to a question from Laura Ingraham about what he thought the comments meant. “I think he did walk it back today, so I think the handlers, whoever was yesterday was probably the B team, we had probably the A team around him today…oh we’re friendly!”
The back and forth between the men comes as Ramaswamy has run a campaign where despite being in competition with Trump, he’s painted himself as the former president’s staunchest ally.
That careful position came to a head recently with Ramaswamy pitching votes for himself in the Iowa caucus as a way to ensure that Trump stays “safe.”
On Sunday, pro-Trump attack dog Laura Loomer posted about how she believed Ramaswamy was trying to take advantage of Trump’s electorate and bring them over to his own side—including by modeling his campaign logo after Trump’s.
“There are 5 letters in Vivek and 6 in Social, but the size enhancement of his name registers his logo with the same emotional triggers associated with Truth Social,” Loomer wrote.
“It’s a high level psychological manipulation tactic to make MAGA connect with him.”
“Vivek is *not* attacking Trump. He has defended against the assaults on him & is concerned for Trump and the country about what will happen,” Ramaswamy’s Communications Director Tricia McLaughlin replied.
“I was mad when Trump threw Vivek under the bus,” posted @Chrispr321758 in response to the video of Ramaswamy knocking Trump’s alleged handlers. “Trump has no loyalty. Vivek has basically been campaigning for Trump even though they’re in the same race! It’s so beyond the pale that Trump did that. Shame on him.”
“Dupe 🤡,” replied @tlstrock.