Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy shifted his position on former President Donald Trump over the weekend, expressing his acceptance of the GOP frontrunner potentially skipping the initial primary debates.
Ramaswamy remarked on Saturday that he has “no problem” with Trump choosing not to participate in the first few debates.
This is in contrast to his earlier declaration in May when he indicated that Trump’s absence from the debates would signify a change in him.
He stated, “This is my chance to introduce myself to the country & so I have no issue with whatever decision he wants to make. If he’s on there, great. If not, I’m fine with that,” as reported by a Semafor reporter.
A separate comment by Ramaswamy from May, where he expressed an expectation for Trump’s presence at the debates, was pointed out by another reporter on the platform. In that clip from May 5, Ramaswamy stated, “I fully expect to see Donald Trump on that debate stage.
It is my expectation Trump will be there because as I’ve known him, he’s not a man that I know of to be afraid. He’s not somebody who’s made a habit of himself to be a coward. But if he doesn’t show up on that debate stage, that will be the best proof that the Donald Trump of today is not the same Donald Trump as in 2016.”
Ramaswamy’s campaign clarified that his recent comments don’t constitute a departure from his previous stance. His communications director, Tricia McLaughlin, stated, “This is not the only debate.”
Donald Trump has not yet confirmed his participation in the first GOP debate scheduled to be hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
The Republican National Committee, responsible for organizing all presidential primary debates, requires candidates to pledge their support to the GOP’s eventual presidential nominee and refrain from participating in unsanctioned debates.
Trump has so far declined to sign this pledge, stating that he wouldn’t support certain individuals for president, thus creating a potential problem.