Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday said he was “proud” to have the endorsement of ex-Rep. Steve King, who was stripped of his congressional committee assignments in 2019 after questioning why terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” had become offensive.
In a video statement released Tuesday, King said Ramaswamy “will build the wall on the border for real” and described the 38-year-old candidate as “the strongest voice we have to defend our Constitution and reestablish America’s destiny.”
In response to King’s endorsement ahead of the Jan. 15 Iowa Republican presidential caucus, Ramaswamy said “most people are sheep when it comes to making endorsements, but [King] doesn’t do what he’s ‘supposed to.'”
“He votes his conscience and that’s why I respect him,” Ramaswamy continued. “Steve King was America First before it was cool. The likes of Steve King & Pat Buchanan were the OGs. He doesn’t back down from a fight and he certainly doesn’t bow to the Establishment. Grateful for his endorsement.”
King has come under heavy criticism for his past offensive remarks, which range from claiming no subgroup of people have contributed more to civilization than whites to condemning “mixing cultures.”
He also stoked headlines for calling migrants “dirt,” tweeting that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” claiming that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest, and posting that he’d rather be a slave than an aborted baby because he could see the sunrise and sunset.
In 2019, he told the New York Times in an interview, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” And in 2018 he said that he wouldn’t have thought the term white nationalist would be the derogatory term that it is today.
King lost his committee assignments following his remarks to the Times in an overwhelming vote 424-1, which King himself voted for because his words were taken out of context and to show that he too condemns white supremacy.
“The words are likely what I said, but I want to read them to you the way that I likely said it,” King said at the time, before reading them aloud. “There are 13 words that caused this firestorm, but I regret that we’re in this place.”
In 2020, the nine-term congressman lost his seat to primary challenger Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa).
Ramaswamy came to King’s defense after being pressed about his past remarks, saying King had been “wrongfully villainized” and questioned why the Times hadn’t produced a recording of King’s remark.
“I’m not one of these people that treats the New York Times as the Bible,” Ramaswamy told reporters, arguing that the publication had “lied” about other issues including COVID-19.
“The fact that the New York Times says that Steve King said something a few years ago doesn’t make it true. I’ve gotten to know Steve well & trust him far more than the MSM,” he added in an X post before noting that “one of his allegedly most ‘racist’ comments was to build a wall on the Southern border.”
According to a RealClearPolitics average of recent Republican primary polls in Iowa, Ramaswamy is notching 5.9% in the state for fourth place. Nationally, the recent polling average puts the entrepreneur-turned-candidate at just over 4%.