Meet Vivek Ramaswamy and His Powerful Friends

( – Entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy considers himself to be an outsider to the establishment in Washington D.C. During the first Republican debate of the 2024 primary election, Ramaswamy claimed that he was the only candidate on the stage who was not “bought and paid for.” He is outspoken about many things, including his opposition to the United States sending more funding to Ukraine. However, he does have connections to many prominent figures who align with both sides of the political spectrum.

By far the most familiar power-player that Ramaswamy is associated with is billionaire Peter Thiel. Ramaswamy has received investments from Thiel for two of his business ventures, including Strive Asset Management, which Ramaswamy launched in 2022. The goal of Strive is to go after corporate investors that have adopted environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Republican Ohio Senator J.D. Vance also invested in Strive and enjoys a friendship with Thiel. Ramaswamy and Thiel have both publicly opposed ESG policies, and business innovators tend to migrate toward others who share the same beliefs and interests. 

Ramaswamy’s biggest success comes from his 2014 founding of Roivant, an investment company that primarily deals with pharmaceuticals. The advisory board for Roivant is packed with a bipartisan group of former government officials. Ramaswamy is also associated with Leonard Leo, a political activist who has worked extensively to help fill vacancies in the federal courts with conservative judges. Ramaswamy has given speeches at events hosted by a group called Teneo, which Leo currently chairs. 

The group reportedly focuses on bringing prominent conservatives together to “crush liberal dominance” in the United States. Thiel is also affiliated with Teneo, as well as former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. A spokesperson for Ramaswamy’s campaign said that his connections and business relationships with prominent Republican figures are quite different than those of politicians who “change their policies and positions to please their Super Pac donors.”

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