GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy defends rival Donald Trump: 'Bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime'

Ramaswamy warns against setting 'dangerous precedent' of using police to arrest political opponents

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Sunday defended former President Donald Trump, who faces a special counsel investigation regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol protests.

The biotech entrepreneur, during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," responded to being slammed for not criticizing Trump a month before the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee. 

"I’ve been consistent all along,"he said, "that I would have made different judgments than Donald Trump made – that is why I’m running in this race for the presidency – the same race that he’s in. Because I would have made different and, I believe, better judgments for the country." 

"But a bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime," Ramaswamy continued. "And when we conflate the two, that sets a dangerous precedent for this country. I don’t want to see us become some banana republic where the party in power uses police force to arrest its political opponents." 

"Now that I’m third in the national polls, self-interestedly it would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump were not the front-runner – if Trump were eliminated by the federal administrative police state. But that’s not the right thing for the country," he added.  


gop candidate vivek ramaswamy defends rival donald trump bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Turning Point Action conference on July 15, 2023. Ramaswamy argued Sunday for U.S. economic independence from China, putting him at odds with former President Trump. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In a recent Fox News survey of Iowa Republicans, Trump received 46% support among likely Iowa GOP caucus goers, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received 16% and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., received 11%.  Ramaswamy came in fourth, polling at 6%. 

In South Carolina, another recent Fox News poll found Trump leading by more than 30 points. Ramaswamy came in sixth place in that poll at just 3%. 

Ramaswamy contended that he was "not running against anyone," including rival GOP presidential candidates and Democrat President Biden, stressing that he was running for the "vision of what it means to be American."

"We don’t want a super PAC puppet," Ramaswamy said. "We want an independent voice, and a patriot who actually speaks the truth. That’s’ what I’m bringing to the race." 

gop candidate vivek ramaswamy defends rival donald trump bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime

Donald Trump speaks during the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday, July 15, 2023. Trump is the current GOP front-runner. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


In a past book, Ramaswamy argued that Trump wrongfully claimed he did not lose the 2020 election and raised millions of dollars off his supporters, "Fox News Sunday" host Shannon Bream noted. "What Trump did last week was wrong. Downright abhorrent. Plain and simple," Ramaswamy previously tweeted on Jan. 12, 2021. "I’ve said it before and did so in my piece." 

During the appearance, Ramaswamy responded to Trump’s recent comments describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as "brilliant" and "an iron fist." Ramaswamy said Xi "is a dictator, and China is the top threat that the United States faces," arguing that he stands apart from other 2024 candidates, including Trump, in campaigning for "economic independence" from China. 

gop candidate vivek ramaswamy defends rival donald trump bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a SiriusXM town hall on June 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Ramaswamy said he also has laid out a foreign policy plan based on pulling apart the China-Russian alliance. 

"NATO was created to deter the USSR. The USSR does not exist anymore, yet NATO has expanded more after the fall of the USSR than it ever did during the USSR’s existence. So I think we have to ask the question of, ‘What advances American interests?’" Ramaswamy said. "And to me, the top American interest is pulling apart the China-Russia alliance – that ends the Ukraine war, that stops us from having to fund another hundreds of billions of dollars to protect somebody else’s border that we could be using to protect our own border. And more importantly, this is also how we deter Xi Jinping from going after Taiwan." 

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 

Authored by Danielle Wallace via FoxNews July 23rd 2023