By Michael Barnard and Trey Lewis
Republican Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy fielded questions at New England College (NEC) Friday during an event hosted by Sirius XM host David Webb.
Ramaswamy addressed his concerns about the United States involvement in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the threat of China, and security along the U.S. and Mexico border.
Ramaswamy criticized President Joe Biden and members of the republican party for supporting Ukraine and ignoring increased state-controlled media and under-representation in parliament in that country, he said.
“Is Vladimir Putin a craven dictator? Yes, he is, but just because Putin is bad does not mean that Ukraine is good,” Ramaswamy said.
Ramaswamy raised concerns about vulnerability to cyberattacks from China and said the U.S. should have provided sanctions in response to the spy balloons that were found over U.S. airspace.
“We depend on them for our modern way of life. Even the fentanyl crisis right now in this country. Where is that fentanyl coming from? The precursors to make that fentanyl are coming from, I’m not making this up, Wuhan, China to the Mexican drug cartels South of our border. They’re the pumping that fentanyl up to kill more people in the United States,” Ramaswamy said.
As President, Ramaswamy said he would deploy U.S. military to the southern border.
“Building the wall is not enough,” he said. “Mexico is suffering at the hands of the Mexican drug cartels who have impeded the sovereignty of Mexico.”
Gabe Reynolds, a student at NEC, protested outside the event with signs and a guitar but was invited inside after the Sirius XM recording to question the candidate about the danger of getting involved with another conflict.
“How do you expect to get the American people’s support behind an invasion of Mexico to take out the cartels when we could in fact just help them succeed financially and bring them out of a deep poverty without the bloodshed of a single American?” Reynolds asked. “And how do you expect to gain support for a war like this if you take away our right to vote?”
“If there’s one candidate who is anti-war and wants to keep us out of World War III, that’s me,” Ramaswamy said.
Ramaswamy called the current Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador “a disaster” and he would invite Mexico’s next President to the White House to discuss border and immigration concerns.
“We’re going to end incentives for illegal migration into this country and we will end birthright citizenship for the kids of illegal immigrants.”
Ramaswamy said he wants to see voters under the age of 25 pass a competency test.
“In order to become a voting citizen of this country, if we require an immigrant to pass a civics test to vote, I think that it should be a norm in this country that everyone who ages into voting should be able to pass that civics test,” he said.
Lucas Kelly, a local high school student, said he is more informed after hearing Ramaswamy speak in-person.
“I have a better opinion on him now than before, so I really got to know him rather than just seeing what he looks like on screen with multiple other republicans. I feel like I got to feel his full ideas and his beliefs on what he thinks he can do for this country,” Kelly said.
Ramaswamy will be in Pittsburg and Cheshire County for the Reagan-Coolidge Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 7.