Vivek Ramaswamy Joins the What’s Right Show To Talk Immigration, Online Speech Rights, and More

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Episode Description

On This Episode of the What’s Right Show:

  • Special guest U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy joins Sam Mirejovsky
  • Vivek and Sam talk about immigration, political awakenings, free speech online, & more
  • House Speaker vote
  • Israel rhetoric and reality
  • The major difference between the IDF and Hamas
  • The plight of innocent Palestinians who know don’t support Hamas

Watch the FULL Interview:

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Episode Transcription:

Sam (00:01)
All right, friends, it is my pleasure to welcome Vivek Ramaswamy to the program, to the What’s Right Show. Vivek, thank you for coming on and we just appreciate you doing this so much.

Vivek Ramaswamy (00:14)
It’s good to be here, man.

Sam (00:16)
You and I, we are both sons of legal immigrants. I love this part of your story and I identify with it because this is my story too. My parents, I don’t know about your folks, my parents are incensed with illegal immigration. Like to them, it’s a total affront to fair play and the challenges and struggles they had coming to this country and doing it the right way. You just went down to the Southern border, you went to the northern border, you visited the Canadian border, you’ve seen the mess first-hand. What’s the solution? What do we do?

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Vivek Ramaswamy (00:53)
Yes, so the best border policies are the ones that stop creating the incentives for people to come here in the first place. Let’s start with that. It sometimes helps if you start from first principles, right? I went to that southern border. I saw illegal migrants regularly crossing. I talked to some of them, asked them, including a 12-year-old girl who just crossed the river with her father who ended up going to the hospital while she was stuck under a bridge. Why did you come here? She said it was in search of opportunity. So put yourself in the shoes of somebody who’s coming.

There’s the cost of coming. There’s the probability of success of being able to cross over and enter. And then there’s the upside of coming, what the payoff is. Well, my formula is simple. Increase the cost of coming, reduce the probability of success, and reduce the payoff. You will then have the border crisis solved. How do you increase the cost of coming? We should stop giving aid to places like Central American countries from Honduras to Nicaragua and onwards.

Until they have played their role in stopping this mass migration crisis from South America all the way through Central America through Mexico to the United States. And you’ve cut that foreign aid, you mark my words, they’re going to do what they need to. When you’re talking about reducing the probability of success of entering, not only do we complete that border wall, we have to use aquatic barriers. I saw a bunch of those. Those are cheap mobile ways. We’re not using them at all. Texas is using them. The federal government isn’t that’s broken. Militarize the southern border use our own military to seal our own border instead of somebody else’s border halfway around the world. That’s how you reduce the probability of being able to come over. And then the payoff, you have to reduce the incentives for people being here in the first place. No more federal funding for sanctuary cities. Put that to an end. Can’t break the law using taxpayer money to subsidize it. I would also go further to end birthright citizenship for any kid of an illegal immigrant who’s here in this country.

The 14th Amendment does not apply to them. And I’ve gone into the legal arguments for why I can do that here, too. That is a farce. No other Republican candidate has offered the clear legal basis for why I have. Together, all those things, I can get that done. If I’m taking office in January of 2025, by March 31st, 2025, we have the border crisis solved. But it’s gonna take resolve to do it. This is the country that put the man on the moon. This is not a technical challenge.

Vivek Ramaswamy (03:17)
It’s a challenge of political will. And that’s what I’m gonna fix when I’m president.

Sam (03:21)
Yeah, one question I have and it’s an important one just pretty basic like what do we do with all the illegal immigrants that are already here? Right? I mean, I mean, every day every day every week, we’ve got, you know, thousands and thousands and thousands of people that cross the border. And this is a this is a problem. So what do we do with the ones that are here?

Vivek Ramaswamy (03:30)
Yep, I have an answer for you on that.

Vivek Ramaswamy (03:42)
Mass deportation is the answer. I mean, that’s what it comes down to. And I understand that many of those people are good people. You know what, if you or I were in their shoes and you have the US president giving you a wink and a nod and say, come on over, maybe we’d do the same thing for our family, but we’re a nation founded on the rule of law. So I would say with compassion, with respect, in as humane a manner as possible, not breaking up families, take the family unit and return them to their country of origin.

That’s the only answer to stand for the rule of law. I’m thinking about if I’m in that White House, right? My kids are growing up in elementary school. I’d have a hard time looking my two sons in the eye and telling them, you have to follow the rules when the government doesn’t follow its own rules. That’s wrong. That will end on my watch. And if we’re thinking on the timescales of history of the next generation, of looking all of our kids in the eye and telling them that we’re a nation founded on the rule of law, then we have to practice what we preach.

And one thing I will tell you, I just came from that southern border. I was an Eagle pass last week. I have never in my life seen such a large scale, organized breakage of the rule of law organized by the government. I’ve never seen something like that in my life. That’s exactly what we see on that southern border today.

Sam (05:00)
It’s deliberate. It’s absolutely deliberate.

Vivek Ramaswamy (05:01)
Oh, absolutely, it’s deliberate and they’re aiding it. I mean, it’s almost an aided process where they’re facilitating the mass migration, the large-scale government aided breakage of the rule of law. It’s like something I’ve never seen before and hopefully we’ll never see again if we get this right. And if I’m elected, I’ll make sure we do.

Sam (05:19)
Yeah, there’s no country in the world that allows this. There’s not. So I you know, we this and by the way, Republicans have for years courted conservative votes and delivered lip service. Some of those Republicans, in my opinion, are sharing the stage with you in these debates. And they’ve and they it’s lip service. And it’s like we Republicans need to stop being in an abusive relationship. And and take the lies the gaslighting and then and then every you know, every two years, every four years, every six years, they lie to us and then they do absolutely nothing. In fact, quite the opposite.

Vivek Ramaswamy (05:51)
I’ll tell you why. I can tell you exactly why. It comes down to super PACs. The super PACs are a cancer on American politics. I’ve learned this, you know, at first I was very frustrated by many of these candidates who populate that debate stage with me. I realized that it’s not even their fault. These are perfectly fine people that are tainted by a broken system. They’re vessels, they’re puppets for their super PAC puppet masters.

And so we have to end the super PACs. That will end the cancer on American politics. We’re told that the voters decide garbage. These politicians dance to the tune of their biggest donor. It’s like a law of nature. In my case, that biggest donor is me. And that makes a big difference in allowing me and empowering me to be able to speak the truth where others don’t. And the fact of the matter is a lot of big businesses in this country have benefited from mass migration to this country. And so the super PAC puppet masters don’t like taking the position that I do. On eliminating birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants and their kids. But the fact of the matter is until we end the super PACs, we’re gonna have the super PAC puppetry and it’s up to the voters to pick somebody who isn’t captured by that system. And in this race, that’s me.

Sam (07:01)
Yeah, I’m telling you getting some incoming fire from establishment, conservative, you know, in air quotes, conservative media. And I know why and it’s these are the positions. I mean, it’s an existential threat all of this. So actually moving to a point that I think is, I think even more important than the open border. And it’s something you talked about a lot. And it’s, it’s existentially important for the preservation of this country. And that’s free speech.

Vivek Ramaswamy (07:31)

Sam (07:32)
And specifically the vac, my, we’re in a different place today than we were 100 years ago. What I mean by this is our new public square in this country has moved from the street, right? The public sidewalk and onto the internet. And so we exchange ideas and you’re very active on Twitter, for example, on X. You’re you know, you use social media. So you’re, you’re intimately aware with this of how important the open, open forum of social media is now, we know that meta, we know, you know, Twitter, formal management, very big on censorship, particularly of conservative thought. And, I mean, I think one of the problems is section 230. I know we’re getting a little in the weeds, but there

Vivek Ramaswamy (08:27)
No, I like the weeds. I can get into the deep in the weeds here, yeah.

Sam (08:28)
Yeah, but I mean, okay, but I think that Section 230 is hugely problematic. Are you I mean, you’re obviously aware of it. I it’s a legislative problem. It’s an enforcement problem. What are some of your thoughts on this?

Vivek Ramaswamy (08:41)
Yes, so let me just explain to everybody what we’re talking about here, just so we’re on the same page. So Section 230 is this law passed in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act. And there’s two parts to it. Section C1, Section 230 C1 says that you’re not liable for the content posted by others on your website if you’re a social media platform or a website operator. We could debate the merits of that, but put that to one side.

That’s different from Section 230 C2, which says that you’re not liable for removing constitutionally protected content, even if there are laws at the state level, and most states have these laws to say you can’t discriminate based on political viewpoints. Now, that’s the real problem. So my view is, there’s a couple things going on here. The government then, the federal government, has started pressuring those companies to take down speech that the federal government doesn’t like.

That’s wrong. That’s a first amendment violation right there. And then they go further and say to these companies that, hey, you have this special shield of immunity that stops you from being sued when we do that, that we, the government, granted you to. So if the government is using a combination of these carrots and sticks, these threats and these inducements to force private companies to censor speech that the government doesn’t like, then that is state action in disguise.

And if it’s state action in disguise, the Constitution still applies. So that’s a First Amendment violation. Now, normally traditional thinking goes, well, these are private companies. How could they violate the First Amendment? The answer is if the government gives you this special shield of immunity and the government then threatens you to do what the government wants you to do, that’s not the action of a private company. So what’s the solution here? I say make Section 230C2 into an opt-in statute. Okay, for a company.

And you want to be able to censor speech, that’s fine. You will face the consequences of it when you’re sued. And according to state laws that stop you from discriminating on political belief, that’s fine. But if you want this special shield of government, federal government protection, then you’re bound by the same standards as the federal government. That includes the US constitution and the first amendment. That means no viewpoint discrimination. So I know that was long, but part of the reason that people miss these nuances is you know, Republican politicians recite 30 second soundbites that they memorized from the books that I’ve written and then spout them off on stage without understanding why they’re saying what they’re saying. You got to know the why if you’re actually going to drive change in this country.

Sam (11:12)
Yeah, I would say too, there’s a there’s a funny case law, you’re probably aware of this. But Supreme Court, I think 1980, Prunard shopping center v. Robbins. And this was a case of some kids that are protesting for Greenpeace in California, and they get booted from the shopping center. And the they hire the ACLU and they sue. And ultimately, it’s a little bit of a nuanced decision because it came down to what the state law the state constitution provides.

But the Supreme Court said something in it that was very interesting. And it said that the public square has moved from the public street to the shopping centers, which was the case in the 70s and 80s. And so there is a possibility to have free speech protection, First Amendment free speech protection on private property. And it’s funny because I think one of the things that’s going to happen here,

I think 230 is a bad lie. I like your proposed amendment to it. But I also think that the court, the courts need to take special notice of this and realize that if you invite somebody into your public, in your private company, right? Because Twitter acts meta, these are private companies for all intents and purposes, it’s private property. But if you invite people in for the express purpose to debate, to share their opinions, you can’t then turn around and pick and choose.

Who wins and who loses? Who gets to speak and who doesn’t? What are your thoughts on that?

Vivek Ramaswamy (12:42)
Yes, I tend to agree with you on that. I’m thinking about some of the other Supreme Court precedents that here are also pretty interesting, which are, there’s this Bannon Books case where there was a bookstore owner that wanted to sell a book, but the local prosecutor told him he couldn’t. The bookstore owner said, screw you, I’m still going to sell it. Then the prosecutor says, no, I’m going to sue you for this unrelated thing. I’m going to press charges on you for this unrelated thing. And then the bookstore owner folds and he caves. He says, okay, fine, I won’t sell the book. So when a customer wanted to buy the book,

The Supreme Court said that’s not the action of a private company, that’s the action of the state because they were using a backdoor threat. I was thinking about another one where you were, you seem to know a lot about section 230. Think about the immunity that they gave those companies to take down constitutionally protected speech. There’s a different case of a, of a railroad company that, you know, was a private company, but the federal government passed this law during the war on drugs because the federal government wanted to search and seize drugs from people’s person. Well, you can’t do that because you got the Fourth Amendment. So they passed a law that says the railroad company will not be liable, will be immune from being sued, that you can’t sue the railroad company if you’re a passenger or an employee that the railroad chooses to search on its own whim. Well, the Supreme Court again said not so fast. If that’s a railroad company that’s doing what the government induced it to do by giving it a special shield of liability.

That’s still a violation of the Constitution. So, you know, both the shopping mall case you mentioned otherwise, there are deeply baked in intuitions here to say that if it is state action in disguise, the Constitution still applies. We don’t have to reinvent this or change the laws. The Supreme Court has already held that applies. What we need is to open our eyes and to actually see it. So how am I gonna drive that change as US president? I will enforce the laws even-handedly. You know, think about even my job as US president running the executive branch of the government, I believe in total transparency. What did Elon Musk do at Twitter? That’s one company he exposed all of the files for how the government had pressured Twitter to silence speech. Well, I’m going to go from the other side from the federal government to say anytime the federal government in the last five years has pressured any company to do something that the government couldn’t itself do directly. We’re going to publish that for in plain sight and plain view for everybody to see sunlight, let it be the best disinfectant.

And so that’s a big part of how I’m going to run the federal government is restore those first principles, total transparency, if you can’t do it through the front door, no, we’re not going to use a company to do it through the back door. And if there are rogue government officials in the deep state that are going to do it, we’re going to expose them, hold them liable under the laws. And one of the ways to fix this, this gets to the core domestic policy agenda of my candidacy is shut down the deep state in the first place.

75% reduction in the number of federal bureaucrats. That’s the real problem. Shut down government agencies that shouldn’t exist from the Department of Education to the FBI, to the ATF, to the CDC, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They won’t exist on my watch. And yes, a US president absolutely can run the executive branch of government. So I think it’s gonna take an outsider to get this done, an outsider who, yes, is willing to break some glass. An outsider who knows that if somebody works for you, and you can’t fire them, that means they don’t work for you. It means you work for them because you’re responsible for what they do without any authority to change it. But it’s also going to take an outsider who understands the law and the constitution of this country. And that’s something unique that I’m bringing to the table, that it’s that special combination I think it’s going to require now to move our country forward. And that’s why I’m in this race.

Sam (16:27)
I think that’s perfect. The fake pardon me, I got to take a quick break. We’re just come back for a couple more minutes. I just have a few more questions for you. If that’s okay. Pardon me, I got to do this Sam or Jofsky here with the vague Ramaswamy candidate for the Republican nomination of president. You’re listening to news talk 840 KXNT the what’s right shall be back in a moment.

Welcome back. Sorry for that. That break. Thanks for staying with us through the bottom of the hour here. Welcome back and to the what’s right show Vivek Ramaswamyi here. I have a question for you. You get accused by a number of conservatives for being a fake conservative. What’s your conservative story or political awakening story? What what’s tell us about this? Because I think it’s an unfair hit.

Vivek Ramaswamy (18:21)
Yeah. Well, I mean, look, I think that if you’re running for president, all questions are fair game. I do think it is one of the things you want to look at is what sacrifices has somebody actually made to advance their views. Look at a lot of the existing so called Republican political establishment, the answer is nothing. They go make money off of politics. You got politicians in this race who make money off their time in government that go back and use that to run for president. So my story is a little different. I haven’t been born in the world of partisan politics. I didn’t come out of the birth canal spouting Republican talking points, that much I’ll confess to. I came to my views based on my experiences. I was the CEO of a biotech company, multi-billion dollar company I built from scratch, led it as CEO for seven years. And you know what? After George Floyd died, there was a choice I had to make because there was a demand, basically of every biotech CEO, but within my own company as well, to make statements on behalf of the so-called Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, what did I do? I said, I didn’t sound like a great idea to me, but I keep an open mind. I went to their website says calls for destroying the nuclear family structure. I said, nope, something’s wrong here. That doesn’t make sense. The nuclear family is the best known form of governance to mankind. I enjoyed it. Two parents in the house with a focus on education. Why on earth is it good for black kids to dive into the same thing? Forget that. And by the way, it’s not the job of a company to be spouting off these one sided political talking points.

A job of a company is to make products and make a profit without apologizing for it. So I said as much, well, that got me in a lot of hot water. There were prominent advisors six months later, after a series of controversies relating to this, that stepped off my company’s advisory board. Well, I had to make a choice. I was in a comfortable job as a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Nobody kicked me out, but I made the choice to say that I was going to step down from my job as a CEO so that I could speak with conviction at a point where no other CEO in America was willing to do it. And you know what? The environments changed a little bit in the country in the last three years since then, where it’s become easier for others to at least defect from the orthodoxy. That wasn’t the case in the middle of 2020 and early 2021 when I did it. And yes, you look at the sacrifice I’ve made. Now you look at sacrifices I’m making in this campaign. I’ve got plenty of connections up and down Wall Street and tech industry from my prior life.

Vivek Ramaswamy (20:44)
But take the positions that I am on ending the war in Ukraine, on pardoning peaceful protesters on January 6th, on standing for basic American values, pardoning Donald Trump, as I’ve committed to do if I’m elected. Think about it with me, people, ending all the electric vehicle subsidies. Do you think that’s gonna earn me more super PAC support or donors? Well, it hasn’t worked if that’s been an effective strategy. And so what are you giving up? My view is maybe that’s gonna make me less effective at winning. Other candidates have war chests in the super PACs backing them. You know that my candidacy is really different. It’s mostly lifted by small dollar donations and then my own contributions to this campaign. And so I trust people to yes, be skeptical. That’s good. But get to the truth. And don’t buy what anybody else is selling you and ask yourself whether part of what you’re being fed, as many people in the Republican base are, are the product of super PAC phonyism of other candidates that are threatened by my rise. That’s actually what’s happening.

And so I trust the people of this country to get to their own conclusions. My job is to let you know who I am and what I stand for. If after knowing that, if everybody decides to go for somebody else, I’m totally cool with that. I’m at peace with that. But it turns out that the system is made to distort what you hear. And so be skeptical 360 degrees, but I came to my convictions as a product of my experiences, not because I was taught them or handed them from on high either by my parents or by my teachers or by the super PACs that put up the politician puppets now. And I think you get a leader who actually has stronger convictions for having arrived there, not just as a traditional Republican on the assembly line of how you manufacture pilot fake plastic politicians. You know, one of the hits that Sean Hannity hit me with the other night is Oh, I didn’t vote Republican until just a few years ago, because I my first votes were for libertarian candidate in the first election I voted in. Yes, I’m guilty as charged.

I’m not a partisan hack. I actually was libertarian for much of my college years and afterwards, actually still admittedly have pretty strong libertarian instincts, anti government instincts to the core today. I call myself a conservative though, because there is more to the story than just the relationship between the individual and the state. My view is get the state the heck out of my hair. But I also care about affirmative values like the individual and the family and the nation and God.

Vivek Ramaswamy (23:07)
And it’s not that libertarianism is against these things, but it has nothing to say about them. And the reason I call myself as a conservative is I do think that those inherent cultural values matter too. We live by those values, we raise our kids by those values, I, in many ways grew up in a nuclear family setting with those values. That’s what allowed me to succeed in this country. And I think every kid deserves the same thing. That’s why I’m running. It’s why I’m a conservative. And I think that that’s a little different than other Republicans who got it through their more assembly line model of how they came to their views. But it’s up to the voters of this country to decide which model they want.

Sam (23:42)
Well, I think all that makes sense resonates with me, certainly. You said something about your business background and then you mentioned Trump and pardoning Trump. One thing I think about this with you quite often, you’re a guy that has, you know, has been successful in the real world. You have a lot to lose. You’ve seen what they’ve done to Trump. Okay. And are you worried about that?

Vivek Ramaswamy (24:10)
I am concerned about it. I mean, I’m seeing the early signs of it even in the sense of relationships that, you know, even personal relationships or relationships with former colleagues frayed as a consequence of not even them hearing what I’m saying, but them hearing what I’m saying filtered through the pages of the New York Times, right, or the Washington Post, which isn’t, which is even a distortion of the things that I’m saying. Now, the things I’m saying, many of them would disagree with.

But they could at least respect if they hear it coming out of my own mouth. But when it’s run through that filter of MSNBC or the New York Times, that really, I’ve already seen in this campaign has altered the relationships I’ve had even with people who are close to me. And so if that’s the case for people who are close to me, I can only imagine the immune response that’s coming and we saw it happen to Donald Trump. At the same time, you got to make a sacrifice for a country if you want that country to exist. I don’t think we have a country 10, 20 years from now if we stay on the current track, I really don’t.

I don’t think we’re working with a lot of time here. And you know what, we’re spending ungodly amounts of our family’s wealth on this campaign. Why, why are we bothering with all of this? Because the inheritance I wanna give my kids isn’t a bunch of green pieces of paper in their bank account. It is a country that is the same country that allowed them to live the same American dream that a poor of my wife and I both did. And so we’re gonna do our best. That’s our duty to this country. I think we’re gonna succeed at it.

I think that we’re guided by our sense of purpose. I do believe in God. I do believe there is a higher power and we are his instruments here. And I think when you’re guided by that sense of purpose, my conviction is nothing’s gonna stop us on that way. And I respect Donald Trump and his legacy and I will respect it more than any other candidate when I’m in that office, because it’s the right thing to do. But I think it’s gonna take somebody from the next generation guided by true faith and purpose to lead this country to the next version of really making our America First agenda a reality. And I think my heart says we’re gonna be successful in doing that. Are there gonna be some sacrifices? Sure, I’m up for the challenge and I think we’re gonna do it.

Sam (26:11)
Wonderful. Are you participating in the Nevada caucus here? Perfect. Wonderful. Well, I, Vivek, I really appreciate you coming on making time for us here on the What’s Right show. And we wish you all the best with your campaign and hope to see you here in Nevada. As you come and visit our great state. Thank you.

Vivek Ramaswamy (26:15)
Yes. Yeah, I think I was the candidate who was there most recently. And I will tell you, there’s a maverick spirit in the air, and I think it matches, it speaks to me. And some of our numbers on the ground seem to be better in Nevada than they are in some of the other early states. And so that probably means I’m gonna be spending more time there. So I’m looking forward to it.

Sam (26:47)
Well, great. And I hope that we can get you back as we get closer to those dates and continue our conversation. Thank you so much.

Vivek Ramaswamy (26:54)
Thanks, man.

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