MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan interviewed Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday, and it got interesting when the host asked Ramaswamy about his past criticisms of former President Donald Trump. You would think that most candidates would be open to criticizing their challengers, but it’s 2023, and Republicans are terrified of the twice-impeached former President.
“You say he behaved in downright abhorrent behavior that makes him a danger to democracy,” Hasan asked Ramaswamy about his tweet following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. “What was it that was downright? Tell me what he did that was downright abhorrent.”
“Let’s actually be really fair to your audience. So on Jan. 10, 2021, thereabouts, days after that incident, I wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that censorship was the real cause of what happened on Jan. 6,” Ramaswamy said while not answering the question.
“Understood, you are avoiding my question,” Hasan said. “What did Donald Trump do, in your view, that was downright abhorrent? Second time I am asking the question,” Hasan said.
“I think that the thing that I would have done differently if I were in his shoes,” Ramaswamy replied as Hasan said, “That’s not what I asked Vivek, with respect.”
Ramaswamy continued speaking, then Hasan said, “That’s not what I asked, with respect. I will ask it a third time.”
“What did Trump do that was egregious, quote, ‘downright abhorrent and a danger to democracy.’ Can you just explain to our viewers, your words?” Hasan asked again.
“So, so, you’re you’re mixing two different quotes,” Ramaswamy insisted. “But what did I think was reprehensible about what happened that day? Look, I think that the way a true leader should have handled that situation should have been to actually say.”
“I understand; you keep saying what you would have done; I just want to hear from your mouth unless you’re scared of him,” Hasan said. “Why won’t you say what he did that was ‘downright abhorrent?'”
“I’m not going to. I’m not going to let you stitch together three things together,” Ramaswamy said while still not answering the question.
Hasan said, “I will read you the quote. Let’s put up the tweet.”
“Do you want to have an actual conversation?” Ramaswamy shot back.
“Yes. I want you to answer my question. Three times I’ve asked it,” Hasan replied. “It’s a simple question. It’s your words. It’s on the screen. What did he do that was downright abhorrent?”
“I believe that failing to unite this country falls short of what a true leader ought to do,” Ramaswamy said. “That is why I’m in this race, is to do things differently than any prior president has done them. That’s the hard truth.”
Hasan asked him four times. Four times. And he never answered the question. The MSNBC host is on to something. Ramaswamy is afraid of Trump. Most Republicans are, and I can’t figure out why.