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Vivek Ramaswamy

(1985 - )

Ramaswamy was born to Hindu Tamil Brahmin immigrant parents on August 9, 1985, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His campaign website says he often recounts his father’s advice: “If you’re going to stand out, then you might as well be outstanding.”

Ramaswamy attended public schools through the eighth grade. He then attended Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, where he became a nationally-ranked tennis player and the valedictorian of the class of 2003.

He attended Harvard and gained a reputation as a brash and confident libertarian. He was a member of the Harvard Political Union, becoming its president. He was also a member of the Jewish intellectual society Shabtai, which he said he was attracted to because “open debate” was “one of the core tenets of what Shabtai stood for.” He told Jewish Insider, “I became one of the most active members during my years at Yale and since then have been one of the biggest backers.”

His love of rap led him to perform Eminem covers and libertarian-themed rap music under the stage name Da Vek. He also interned for the hedge fund Amaranth Advisors and the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Ramaswamy graduated from Harvard in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in biology and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

After graduation, Ramaswamy and Travis May co-founded Campus Venture Network, which published a private social networking website for university students who aspired to launch a business. The company was sold in 2009 to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

In 2011, Ramaswamy was awarded a post-graduate fellowship by the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. In 2013, he earned a J.D. from Yale Law School. By then, Ramaswamy was already a multimillionaire from his involvement in the finance, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries.

In 2014, Ramaswamy founded the biotech company Roivant Sciences, overseeing the development of five drugs that became FDA-approved. Roivant’s strategy was to purchase patents from larger pharmaceutical companies for drugs that had not yet been successfully developed and then bring them to the market. Ramaswamy appeared on the cover of Forbes in 2015.

He was chairman of OnCore Biopharma, a position he maintained at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals when the two companies merged in March 2015. He also was chair of the board of Arbutus Biopharma, a Canadian firm.

In 2017, Ramaswamy struck a deal with Masayoshi Son in which SoftBank invested $1.1 billion in Roivant. In 2019, Roivant sold its stake in five subsidiaries; Ramaswamy made $175 million in capital gains from the sale.

In 2020, Ramaswamy co-founded Chapter Medicare, a Medicare navigation platform.

In January 2021, Ramaswamy stepped down as CEO of Roivant Sciences and assumed the role of executive chairman.

In 2022, he founded Strive, an Ohio-based asset management firm that has positioned itself as a fund that is “anti-woke” and opposed to standards used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments to determine if they have a positive or negative impact on the environment, society, and governance bodies (ESG).

He launched his presidential campaign on February 21, 2023, and resigned from his positions at Roivant and Strive. He would be the youngest president ever and the first Indian-American and Hindu to hold the highest U.S. office if elected.

Running as a Republican, Ramaswamy admitted that he voted for the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2004 and did not vote in the presidential elections in 2008, 2012, or 2016. He described himself as “apolitical” during this period. He supported Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Today, he refers to himself as an “unapologetic American nationalist.”

Ramaswamy’s wife, Apoorva Ramaswamy (née Tewari), is a physician; he met her at a party while studying law at Yale, where she studied medicine. Together, they have two sons.

In 2023, Ramaswamy’s campaign advisor said his net worth was more than $1 billion; Forbes estimated it at $630 million.

Ramaswamy has written three bestselling books:

Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam (2021).

 Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence (2022).

 Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street Is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn’t Vote For (2023).

He has no foreign policy experience but has visited Israel several times on business trips. “The way I think about our commitment to Israel is it’s grounded in the most solid foundation, which is national self-interest,” he told Jewish Insider. “The bedrock of stability in the Middle East starts with Israel.”

Ramaswamy also supported President Donald Trump’s decisions to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, negotiate the Abraham Accords, and launch the Peace to Prosperity plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

He told Jewish Insider that he has “long-standing respect for what he described as ‘the shared values of the Jewish tradition,’ citing ‘faith in a true God and the family foundations that come along with that.’”

He added, “The way I talk about domestic issues at home from meritocracy and nondiscrimination to foreign policy and America actually standing up with a spine…should be, I hope, appealing to many Jewish voters.”

In the same interview, he made controversial remarks about the Russia-Ukraine war, including one criticizing the Jewish president of Ukraine. “I’m going to say some things that maybe are outside of the establishment-approved Overton Window here, but I think we have gotten into this weird habit of holding out Ukraine and Volodymyr Zelensky as some paragon of democratic ideals,” he told Jewish. “I would just say that there are open questions about his treatment of religious minorities, including but not limited to Jews in Ukraine, that I think should be among the reasons we should stop short of holding him out as some sort of hero.”

Policy Positions

U.S.-Israel Relations

  • “If Israel wants to destroy Hamas, it should go ahead and destroy Hamas. But these are decisions for Israel to make, not America. I am not running for president of Israel. I am running for president of the United States.” (New York Times, October 28, 2023)
  • “I think more deeply than probably anybody in this race. I’ve traveled to Israel. I have business partners in Israel....The reality is this, by the end of my first term, our relationship with Israel will be stronger than it ever has been because I will treat it as a true friendship, not just a transactional religion.” (The Hill, August 29, 2023)
  • “You know what I love about them? I love their border policies, I love their tough-on-crime policies, I love that they have a national identity and an Iron Dome to protect their homeland, so yes I want to learn from the friends that we’re supporting.” (First Republican Debate, Jewish Insider, August 24, 2023)
  • “Our relationship with Israel will never be stronger than by the end of my first term, But it’s not a client relationship; it is a friendship. And you know what friends do? Friends help each other stand on their own two feet.” (First Republican Debate, JTA, August 23, 2023)
  • Ramaswamy described himself as supportive of most of former President Donald Trump’s policies on Israel, specifically moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the “Peace to Prosperity“ Mideast plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. (JNS, July 31, 2023)
  • “The way I think about our commitment to Israel is it’s grounded in the most solid foundation, which is national self-interest…The bedrock of stability in the Middle East starts with Israel.”

    He commended the former president for “finally having the spine” to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “That was a move that I applaud, that I stand behind, that I do not apologize for,” Ramaswamy told JI. He also praised “what Jared did with the Abraham Accords,” referring to Jared Kushner, a close friend as well as Trump’s son-in-law and former senior advisor. “These are major, major accomplishments.” (Jewish  Insider, June 19, 2023)


  • “I will lead Abraham Accords 2.0, I will partner with Israel to make sure Iran never is nuclear armed.” (First Republican Debate, Jewish Insider, August 24, 2023)
  • “I want to go even further than Trump on the Abraham Accords. As president, I want to achieve the Abraham Accords 2.0 and bring in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Indonesia,” he said. “It would be good for everyone.”

    “I want to get these countries past the Palestinian situation being a hold-up to talks of a broader peace,”  (JNS, July 31, 2023).
  • He said he would broker expanded agreements between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Indonesia and believes he “can deliver that in my first year in office.”

    “Why is that important? That integrates Israel into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, in a way that hasn’t happened because Israel has been wrongfully held hostage over a complex historical Palestine question, from being able to integrate itself,” he said. “Because Israel was isolated, that required years of the U.S. having to stand for our democratic ally, including in the form of military aid to Israel.”

    “If we’re successful, the true mark of success for the U.S., and for Israel, will be to get to a 2028 where Israel is so strongly standing on its own two feet, integrated into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, that it will not require and be dependent on that same level of historical aid or commitment from the U.S.”

    “The big difference is to see if the Abraham Accords 2.0 is indeed successful at getting Israel to a stronger place than it is today while relying on U.S. aid,” he said in an email last week. “If it is, then that is the best-case scenario for all; if it’s not, then the aid will continue.” (Washington Free Beacon, August 20, 2023).

Foreign Aid

  • “What I said is it would be a mark of success if we ever got to a point in our relationship with Israel if Israel never needed the United States’s aid....A lot of the other professional politicians who have been threatened by my rise have used that statement to say that I would cut off aid to Israel. That’s not correct.”  (The Hill, August 29, 2023)
  • “So, the reality is that the three billion in aid that we give to Israel is a tiny drop in the bucket for the U.S. military budget. But part of the benefit is — it runs through the US industrial base; a lot of that work is done here in the United States of America....It would be silly for us to want to skimp or cut that when, in fact, it’s not just in Israel’s interest, but that’s in our own interest, even nationally, in building our industrial base.”

    “At some point in time, if Israel comes to us as a true friend, as [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] has done in the past and says we don’t need this, then great, then that’s a point at which we can reevaluate. But we’re not going to cut the aid until Israel tells us that.”

    [A request for more aid would be] “very reasonable … as long as it’s running through the U.S.” (The Algemeiner, August 30, 2023)
  • “Our relationship with Israel has advanced American interests….There’s no North Star commitment to any one country, other than the United States of America” (JTA, August 17, 2023)
  • “When someone asked about aid to Israel, I said we can’t narrowly criticize our financial aid to Israel in isolation when our other policies of engagement in the Middle East have indirectly contributed to the threats that Israel faces.”
  • “Just to clarify, are you in favor of the aid or no?” 

    “Yes,” he responded. (Washington Free Beacon, August 20, 2023).
  • “The fact that Biden is funding the Palestinian Authority even indirectly is disgraceful,”
  • He also said that he supports the Taylor Force Act that bars Congress from funding the P.A. until the Palestinian leadership stops making payments to terrorists and their families. (JNS, July 31, 2023)


  • “We will not stop Israel from defending itself to the fullest capacity....I think it’s really important that the U.S. not put our own men and women on the line in a war with Iran, when in fact, there’s no reason for us to be in that kind of war now.” (The Algemeiner, August 30, 2023)


  • “Antisemitism is a symptom of something that is broken in our society.” Jew-hatred points to a “void in our heart as a nation.”

    “Whenever a society is broken, you have people who try to find someone to blame. This could take the form of gender ideology, ‘woke’-ism, COVID-ism,” he told JNS. “I would also put antisemitism on that list.”

    Ramaswamy criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s “appeasement” to antisemites in enlisting the Council on American-Islamic Relations as a partner on the White House’s national strategy to counter antisemitism. (JNS, July 31, 2023)
  • “We need to find and revive our national identity….I think something else has gone badly wrong when people start to resort to the old, tired trope of blaming one group of people who have been a punching bag for much of modern human history.”

    The rise of anti-Jewish prejudice “is a leading indicator of a broader decay in a society….That deeper cancer in our country is that we are lost. We have lost our sense of purpose, we have lost our sense of identity, of who we are as Americans….I think we need to go upstream and fill that void with something deeper — a vision of American national identity that dilutes this poison to irrelevance.” (Jewish Insider, June 19, 2023)
  • “I mean, if you take the BDS movement as it applies to Israel, for example, I mean, this is laughable, that companies should boycott, divest or sanction Israel without saying a peep about the places where actual human rights atrocities are happening, most notably in the Shandong province of China or elsewhere. So I think that this hypocrisy is best explained by combination of conflicts of interest, cultural conflicts of interest in the proponents of these proposal. I mean, you take the Ilhan Omars of the world, they'd be great proponents of the BDS agenda, the anti-Israel agenda, without saying a peep about the rest of the Middle East where there's actual human rights atrocities that we ignore.” (Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2022)

AICE does not rate or endorse any candidate for political office.

Sources: “Meet Vivek,” Vivek2024.
“Vivek Ramaswamy,” Wikipedia.
Gerard Baker, “The Pushback to Woke Capitalism,” Wall Street Journal, (October 19, 2022).
Matthew Kassel, “Ramaswamy alleges ‘open questions’ over Zelensky’s ‘treatment of religious minorities,’ including Jews,” JewishInsider, (June 19, 2023).
Alex Isenstadt, “Will the real Ramaswamy please stand up, please stand up,” Politico, (July 26, 2023).
Bradley Martin, “Ramaswamy: ‘I want to go even further than Trump on the Abraham Accords,’” JNS, (July 31, 2023).
Gabe Friedman, “Vivek Ramaswamy says US should not give Israel more aid than to others in the Middle East,” JTA, (August 17, 2023).
Alana Goodman, “Ramaswamy: Cut Off Aid to Israel After 2028,” Washington Free Beacon, (August 20, 2023).
John Hendrickson, “Vivek Ramaswamy’s Truth,” The Atlantic, (August 21, 2023).
Andrew Lapin, “Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy spar over aid to Israel at first GOP debate,” JTA, (August 23, 2023).
“Daily Kickoff,” Jewish Insider, August 24, 2023).|
Dominick Mastrangelo, “Hannity grills Ramaswamy on Israel,” The Hill, (August 29, 2023)
Andrew Bernard, “‘We’re Not Going to Cut the Aid’: 2024 Republican Contender Backtracks on Controversial Israel Comments,” The Algemeiner, (August 30, 2023).
Lisa Lerer and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, “Haley Offers Scathing Critique of Trump at Jewish Republican Event in Las Vegas,”  New York Times, (October 28, 2023)

Photo: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.