GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy offered rare but mild criticism of former President Trump on Sunday when he called efforts to keep Trump in power following the 2020 election through a fake elector scheme “bad judgements.”
Ramaswamy at first dodged ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’s pressing questions on “This Week” asking him if it was wrong for Trump associates to create slates of phony electors in states that Trump lost. Ramaswamy instead said that if he had been president, he would have “never let it get to that place.”
“I think that there were a number of bad judgments that were made,” Ramaswamy said. “Frankly, if I were the U.S. president, I would have never let it get to that place. We had systematic suppression of information. We had systematic COVID mandates, which I think actually created a lot of the frustration that led up to January 6 that was pent up.”
When pressed further if it was wrong to pursue the fake electors scheme, Ramaswamy said he “would not have nominated phony slates of electors.” When asked if it was wrong to “encourage the mob to storm the Capitol,” the Republican presidential candidate again said he would not have done it.
“I disagree with that characterization, because I’ve read the transcript very carefully,” he said. “Peaceful protest is what Donald Trump encouraged. Is that what I would have done that day under those circumstances? No, but I do think that that’s different from a crime and so I disagree with a lot of what he did that day.”
“But that is still different from saying that he should be prosecuted for it, which I think sets a dangerous precedent of First Amendment,” he added.