Chuck Todd went after Vivek Ramaswamy for “doing the exact opposite” of what he called for in his book in a tense exchange after the GOP presidential candidate claimed former Vice President Mike Pence passed on an “opportunity for heroism” on Jan. 6, 2021.
“I think that there was a historic opportunity that he missed to reunite this country in that window,” Ramaswamy said.
“What I would have said is, ‘This is a moment for a true national consensus’ where there’s two elements of what’s required for a functioning democracy in America: one is secure elections and the second is a peaceful transfer of power. When those things come into conflict, that’s an opportunity for heroism,” he continued.
Ramaswamy added that he would have called for single-day voting on Election Day, paper ballots and government-issued IDs that match a voter’s file. He said he would have “led through that level of reform” before certifying the election.
David James, a press secretary for the Pence campaign, called Ramaswamy’s remarks “shocking and concerning” in a statement shared with NBC News.
The host brought out receipts from Ramaswamy’s book, published in September 2022, in which the candidate noted he doesn’t believe that “most Republican politicians actually think the election was stolen” in 2020.
“So you went from there and 11 months later, your views have changed on Jan. 6,” Todd said.
Ramaswamy replied that he drew a “sharp distinction” in the book between Big Tech’s election “interference” — in which he pointed to the Hunter Biden laptop controversy — and ballot fraud claims, which he said he hasn’t seen evidence of.
Todd and Ramaswamy proceeded to go back and forth on whether he wrote about “Big Tech stuff” in his book before the host read another excerpt.
“You’re referring to Republicans: ‘We use stolen election theories as a back door to embracing our own victim identity path — pursuing an easy path to power,’” Todd quoted.
“Throughout this entire book, you mock the entire Jan. 6 aspect. You absolutely criticize Donald Trump for being a sore loser. You write about it in a way of making your point that you think we’ve become a nation of victims. And right now, on TV, you’re doing the exact opposite,” the host continued.
You can watch more of the fierce exchange beginning at the 3:58 mark in the clip below.