Presidential candidate gives policy speech amid scrutiny over shifting positions
Vivek Ramaswamy called for dismantling the “administrative state” and mass firings of government employees in a policy address on Wednesday, saying he hoped his proposals would spawn a new “revolution” in the United States.
Ramaswamy vowed that he would shut down multiple U.S. agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Education, adding that this “is just the beginning of the list of federal agencies that we will either shut down or downsize.”
“Do we want incremental reform? Or do we want revolution? I stand on the side of a revival of those 1776 ideals,” he said in the speech to America First Works, a conservative advocacy group.
The address comes as Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old political newcomer and biotech mogul, is polling at third place in the Republican presidential race. It also comes as he has faced scrutiny over some of his policy positions, including his shifting stance on aid to Israel and his suggestion that the U.S. government has misled the public about the September 11 attacks.
The candidate added dramatic flourishes to his speech on Tuesday by crumpling up large signs printed with “Myths” about why the president can’t unilaterally gut portions of the executive branch.
Ramaswamy told the audience—which included Trump-supporting Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) in the front row—that he is committed to “shutting down the administrative state.”
“Large scale mass layoffs are absolutely what we will bring to the D.C. bureaucracy, both because it is necessary and essential by the law of the United States of America,” said Ramaswamy. “We will actually get in there and shut it down.”
Ramaswamy’s comments echoed the views of many conservatives, who have criticized the Department of Education for focusing on contentious social issues rather than academics, and objected to the politicization of the FBI.
Ramaswamy accused the Department of Education of spending “approximately an $80 billion budget per year telling local schools that they can’t get those federal funds unless they adopt toxic racial and gender ideologies.”
“I think what people are hungry, craving is an affirmative alternative vision,” he said.