(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

2024 GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, spoke to Kennedy on The Brian Kilmeade Show about how the loss of national identity is affecting the country and the cultural poisons filling the void are wokeism, transgenderism and climate-ism. When asked about Robert Kennedy Jr., Vivek thinks he is an interesting candidate and says he has spoken to him several times over the course of the campaign. While he does not agree with everything Robert Kennedy says, from climate change and affirmative action, Vivek says they both respect free speech, individual self-determination and a constitution with three branches of government, not four. Vivek also discussed his libertarian freestyle rap days as “Da Vek” when he would freestyle songs from the likes of Eminem. Vivek says he was an original lyricist at times and still has those libertarian instincts deep in his bones.

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Rough transcript

Kennedy [00:00:00] Vivek Ramaswamy joins me now. Welcome to the Brian KILMEADE Show, Vivek.

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:00:04] It’s good to be on. How are you doing?

Kennedy [00:00:06] I’m doing real good. I mean, this is a it’s a crazy time. And when I look at a candidacy like yours, I know what’s important to you culturally. I know what must feel like economic urgency for voters. But how do you rank what is most important to tackle when you’re running for president?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:00:29] I think we have to get to the heart of what’s actually done in our country. KENNEDY And the economy is in a malaise. It’s true that we’re facing a loss of our stature on the global stage. But these things are ups are downstream of the real upstream cause, which is, I think, a loss of national identity itself. We’re in the middle of this identity crisis as a country where faith and patriotism and hard work and family, the things that used to ground us, they have disappeared. And I think that that shows up. That leaves a black hole in its wake. And then various poisons fill that void. So the cultural poisons that many others like to talk about as well, from wokeism to transgenderism to climate ism, but even a flailing economy. Even depression, anxiety, fentanyl, usage. These are symptoms of a deeper void of purpose and meaning in our country. And I think it’s part of what’s fueling our rise. Is that message of getting to the root cause of what’s going on, but also having an unapologetic actual rise on the back of it for saying this is what we’re running to. We’re not just running from something, we’re running to something.

Kennedy [00:01:43] And I.

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:01:43] Think that’s exactly we’re.

Kennedy [00:01:44] Doing. Yeah. And I don’t disagree with you. I think that we should return to being an aspirational country, you know, a country that wants to do well. A country that wants our neighbors to do well. A country that won’t accept the the dissolution of cities and, you know, the violation of rights when, you know, disgusting behavior proliferates. You know, I was looking at video today of women just strolling out of a Burlington Coat factory with three giant shopping carts full of stolen goods. And that’s fine. You look at what’s happening with homeless encampments and women being raped and people defecating on sidewalks. And, you know, that is the downfall of civil society. And that is not okay. But, you know, you talk about you touch on something that I think is critically important. And I agree with you that there is a root cause here. But we have a mental health crisis happening right now. And it started in the pandemic, especially with young adolescents. And, you know, it has now made a ripple effect and it’s not getting better. And I don’t know that I necessarily trust government to make it better, because I think they have created a lot of the environments that make this mental health care crisis worse, but they don’t have the solutions. But you also have a government that is spending itself out of control and into oblivion. So how would your presidency fix those two things?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:03:19] Well, I think you get into the root cause there as well. Money is another substitute, the fake money that we’re printing, money raining from on high like manna from heaven, too. It’s like showering cocaine on a cocaine addict. That doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem. And I think you describe it as a mental health epidemic. That’s accurate. But I think it’s even the cause of that mental health epidemic is something that predates the pandemic. I think the pandemic just exposed it, made it worse, which was this deeper void of purpose. And I do not want the government Kennedy solving that problem. The government cannot solve that problem. That’s going to require a revival in every sphere of our life, the revival of family, the revival of faith, the revival of the value in virtue of individual hard work. But here’s what the government can do is at least stop throwing kerosene on the flames. Right now, the government, it pays people to do the exact opposite of what they should want to do more to stay home than to go to work. Well, that’s not only bad for an economy, it’s also bad for depression and anxiety. That’s part of what fuels depression and anxiety. When people lose their sense of self-worth by playing video games in their parents basements as millennials, rather than getting a job paying people more. Single mothers in the inner city of Chicago, the Southside or Kensington and Philadelphia, where I visited more money not to have a man in the house than to have a man in the house. They’re responding to that economic incentives. But that’s part of what gives us a 25% fatherlessness epidemic across the country. Talk about paying people more not to repay their student loan debt than to pay it back. And so the government has played a big role in this part of that with the money printing machine at the Fed. But what they’ve done is repeatedly paid people to do the opposite of what is even best for them. So now do I expect the government to serve as a pastor and revive that missing sense of faith? No. I think we need pastors and other people across this country, family leaders and coaches and teachers and parents to do that. But what we do need to do is get the government out of the way. A big part of how we do it is to shut down that federal bureaucracy, that administrative state, which I’ve offered you, if I may say it myself. Kennedy, an unprecedented clarity on exactly how we would do it, the mechanics of it. I do intend to get this done. And when I leave office in January of 2033, I will, on good terms, tell the American people that we once again have three branches of government instead of four. We’re not dependent on our enemy for our modern way of life. Our economy is growing again as a result at four plus percent. And most importantly, young Americans and all of us are proud to be American again today in 2033. And that will cause the economic malaise and the psychological malaise and the mental health epidemic to in many ways sort itself out as a byproduct of it. That’s the way I see it. And I see an opportunity to actually do it. KENNEDY But I need to be the president to be able to lead that in the same way Reagan did. And that’s why I’m in this race.

Kennedy [00:06:17] So let’s talk a little bit about RFK Junior, because you guys touch on a lot of the same themes. Did you have you and RFK jr. On your presidential bingo card four years ago.

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:06:29] I did not know.

Kennedy [00:06:30] Do you think he’s interesting and do you follow his campaign?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:06:34] I think he’s interesting. I’ve spoken to him several times over the course of the campaign. I don’t agree with everything he says. I mean, he is I’m dead set against affirmative action. He’s in favor of it. I think he favors much more aggressive climate policies than I do. I think the climate change movements are cool, but that’s healthy disagreement. We both respect the virtues of free speech, of individual self-determination and self-governance, of a constitution with three branches of government, not four. And what disappoints me is that the Democratic Party isn’t even letting them debate. That’s I want the Democratic Party to be the best version of itself that makes our country stronger. It makes the Republican Party better.

Kennedy [00:07:14] Yeah, And I would I would like for Joe Biden to answer some of the inconsistencies about his son’s business dealings alone. I don’t want him to be further shield shielded by other Democrats and by mainstream media. So, you know, in in two years, God forbid, if he’s reelected, he goes downhill even faster. And those institutions are looking at each other like they’re kind of surprised. How do you think the issues that he’s got with Hunter Biden and, you know, as revelations grow and reveal themselves, how much trouble does that pose for his reelection?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:07:56] I think it poses serious trouble for his reelection and I expect to be the nominee. KENNEDY But I am the nominee. I don’t think they’re going to let Joe Biden run against me. I think they’re going to put up a different puppet. This puppet will have outlived his purpose. And I do not think the juxtaposition of me as the candidate for the Republican Party against him as the Democrat running is going to be something that they’re going to be able to sustain, especially after having pointed out two alleged misdeeds of his what he thinks is his main competitor now, Trump. That’s going to boomerang back when I’m the nominee. And I think that that’s not going to be able to sustain even a facially plausible campaign that will be Gavin Newsom or Michelle Obama or somebody else.

Kennedy [00:08:37] A different I don’t think it’s going to be Michelle Obama. I think it’s a Gavin Newsom once it’s so badly he’s got very pointy elbows and he’s going to use them to burst the vice president’s balloon. Now, one thing that I would like to fan the flames of your libertarianism, I hope that you return to a philosophical model of limited government in all of your words and deeds. And I know when you were an undergrad at Harvard. You had some libertarian freestyle leanings, and you, in fact had a very fruitful alter ego, Divac, who was an accomplished freestyle rapper. Listen to this.

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:09:17] You think the moment you rode into, you had never let go. Gonna get one shot. You got it. You can love this opportunity. Go. See the last time you did.

Kennedy [00:09:29] That is that is Vivek Ramaswamy. Back in the early aughts, feeling Eminem unleashing the lyrical miracle on the crowd. Does does that undergraduate young M.C. still exist in this presidential hopeful?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:09:49] The spirit of it absolutely is in my bones. I still have those libertarian instincts deep in my bones. Believe me, that was me. That was me rapping on Eminem. But I’ve also been and I was an original lyricist as well at times. During course you were. But but I believe in it. So I haven’t changed those convictions. I’ve just added to them. Kennedy I believe the individual should be free from the state. I also believe that there are things that the individual needs to figure out for himself on how to live a meaningful life. And I care about those questions too, which is what leads me to be a conservative today. But with those deeply anti-government libertarian instincts woven into my into my very soul, and you have my word that that is how I will lead this government accordingly. It’s why shutting down the unconstitutional regulatory state is at the top of my domestic policy agenda. And I don’t believe in slogans. I believe in truth and I believe in reality, which is why we’ve offered really painstaking detail on exactly how I’m going to do it. I’ve been a CEO of built multibillion dollar businesses before. Yes, the federal bureaucracy will be a bigger beast than any I’ve taken on in the past. But I’m in this because I’m ready for the job. And that’s the that’s the fire I want you to hold my feet to.

Kennedy [00:11:00] All right. So let me I have a very important question for you. I knew I know that you grew up just outside Cincinnati. Do you love Joe Burrow as much as my 18 year old daughter does?

Vivek Ramaswamy [00:11:12] I think I do. I have to confess that I really maybe not in the same way, but but in the same magnitude. Yes, that’s what I would say.

Kennedy [00:11:21] All right. Well, Vic, best of luck to you as your campaign continues to surge. It has been a fascinating experience seeing you deflect and create. And I have very high hopes. Vikram Swami, thanks for stopping by.