Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy changed his tune on former President Donald Trump over the weekend, saying he has “no problem” with the GOP frontrunner skipping the first few primary debates.
Semafor’s Shelby Talcott quoted Ramaswamy saying Saturday he’s “fine” with Trump not showing up at the first few debates despite declaring in May it would prove Trump’s not the candidate he once was.
“This is my chance to introduce myself to the country & so I have no issue with whatever decision he wants to make,” Talcott wrote on X, formerly Twitter, quoting Ramaswamy. “If he’s on there, great. If not, I’m fine with that.”
Republican presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy, left, and former President Donald Trump. (Fox News)
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The Belaaz’s Joel Weingart chimed in on Talcott’s tweet, highlighting a May 5 clip of Ramaswamy saying he had an “expectation” for Trump to be there.
“I fully expect to see Donald Trump on that debate stage,” he said at the time. “It is my expectation Trump will be there because as I’ve known him he’s not a man that I know of to be afraid. He’s not somebody who’s made a habit of himself to be a coward.
Entrepreneur and 2024 presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy raps after doing a “fair side chat” with Gov. Kim Reynolds at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 12, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
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“But if he doesn’t show up on that debate stage, that will be the best proof that the Donald Trump of today is not the same Donald Trump as in 2016.”
Ramaswamy’s campaign told Fox News Digital his comments Saturday are “not a departure at all” from his previous statement.
“This is not the only debate,” said communications director Tricia McLaughlin.
Trump has not yet confirmed whether he will be participating in the first GOP debate hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Former President Donald Trump waves to the crowd on the 16th tee during the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club Aug. 13, 2023, in Bedminster, N.J. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Republican National Committee, which is organizing all the presidential primary debates, requires that every candidate sign a pledge to support the GOP’s eventual presidential nominee — regardless of who it is — and not to take part in any debate not sanctioned by the national party committee.
Trump, so far, has refused to sign the pledge.
“Why would I sign it?” Trump said in an interview earlier this month. “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So, right there, there’s a problem.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.