(NewsNation) — Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said if he’s elected, he will make a “deal” with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to weaken Russia’s relationship with China.
“We will do a deal and a good deal,” Ramaswamy said Monday night at the town hall hosted by NewsNation.
Ramaswamy said his deal includes making a commitment to Putin that NATO will not admit Ukraine if Russia exits a military partnership with China.
“The Russia-China military partnership outmatches the U.S. on nuclear capabilities, on hypersonic missiles, on China’s naval capacities,” Ramaswamy said, later adding: “Worst of all, through the Ukraine war, we’re actually pushing Russia further into China’s hands. So, I will end that (the Russia-Ukraine) war.”
NewsNation’s town hall moderator Leland Vittert questioned Ramaswamy’s concept: “Has Vladimir Putin ever made a deal that he’s lived up to?”
Ramaswamy fired back: “We haven’t actually backstopped it with the proper self-interest.”
“I don’t trust Vladimir Putin, but I trust him to follow his self-interest,” he added.
Ramaswamy thinks if the U.S. commits to not supporting the admission of Ukraine into NATO, Putin will have “no reason” to be in a military partnership with China.
“He (Putin) doesn’t enjoy being Xi Jinping’s little brother. He wants to actually have a trilateral world order, not a bilateral one that favors China where he’s the little stepson,” Ramaswamy told Vittert. “So, the reality is, I can trust him to follow his self-interests.”
At the town hall, Ramaswamy also said he would defend the U.S. but not use the military unless there’s an immediate threat.
“If you mess with us on our homeland, we will come for you and you will have hell to pay for it,” he said.
Ramaswamy’s comments came as the Biden administration has asked Congress to provide more than $13 billion in emergency defense aid to Ukraine and an additional $8 billion for humanitarian support through the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement there was strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for the request.
“The latest request from the Biden administration shows America’s continued commitment to helping Americans here at home and our friends abroad,” he said. “We hope to join with our Republican colleagues this fall to avert an unnecessary government shutdown and fund this critical emergency supplemental request.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has championed of support for Ukraine, was more subdued.
“I look forward to carefully reviewing the Administration’s request to make sure it is necessary and appropriate,” McConnell said in a statement, “to keep America safe, secure our borders, support our allies, and help communities rebuild after disasters.”
But as the father of two sons himself, Ramaswamy said if he’s elected, the U.S. “will not send our sons and daughters to die in wars that do not advance American interests.”
Once considered a longshot candidate, Ramaswamy is now rapidly rising in the polls. He initially registered at 0%, but some recent surveys have shown him in third place for the GOP presidential nomination behind frontrunner former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. A Morning Consult poll places Ramaswamy at 8%, with Trump at 59% and DeSantis at 16%.