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Strive Asset Management Executive Chairman Vivek Ramaswamy, a former biotechnology executive and a leading voice against the ESG investing movement, teased a possible bid for the White House on Monday.
The business leader has been garnering name recognition in the crucial Republican primary state of Idaho, according to a report from POLITICO, and plans to run an ideas-based campaign. Ramaswamy would enter a Republican primary field currently led by former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Ramaswamy appeared to confirm his presidential ambitions Monday on social media, retweeting the Politico story and commenting “stay tuned.”
“I think the GOP has a historic opportunity to answer the question of what it means to be an American at the moment where we lack a national identity,” Ramaswamy told the outlet. “I’m grateful that many Republican governors and other leaders have borrowed my message and woven it into their policy agendas. But when it comes to who leads our country next, I believe that it’s going to take a leader who shares his own vision, not someone else’s, and that’s what calls me to do this.”
He has reportedly assembled a campaign team of nearly 20 people: Kathy Barnette, the former Pennsylvania Senate primary candidate, will lead his potential grassroots efforts, while Tricia McLaughlin, who led communications for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, would be his press secretary.
The former chief executive of Roivant Sciences launched Strive last year in an attempt to lead portfolio companies to reject investment strategies motivated by the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement. Strive recently unveiled a series of actions at ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Home Depot meant to prevent the firms from “prioritizing ESG over excellence.” The company, for instance, co-authored a shareholder resolution for Home Depot that would undo an earlier proposal supported by BlackRock to conduct a “racial equity audit.”
A son of Indian immigrants and a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Ramaswamy often contends that the economic woes faced by the United States are worsened by a rejection of meritocracy and an embrace of left-wing political and social agendas.
“I believe that I’ve developed a vision for American national identity that I have deep conviction for and is the product of my own journey of having lived the gifts that this country has afforded me,” he told POLITICO. “And the combination of both doing it intellectually and having personally experienced that vision of our nation makes me well suited to articulate that and deliver on it.”
Ramaswamy’s candidacy would follow Republican state treasurers divesting some $12 billion from asset manager BlackRock over the firm’s promotion of the ESG movement. States such as Texas and Oklahoma have passed measures that would sanction asset management companies which boycott the fossil fuel industry for ideological reasons. Republican attorneys general recently filed suit against the Biden administration’s Labor Department over a rule that would nix a previous ban on ESG investments for retirement fiduciaries.
American investors are largely skeptical toward ESG investment strategies and desire that their funds are allocated in a politically agnostic manner. An exclusive poll from The Daily Wire showed last year that 64% of respondents believe “individual investors whose savings are being invested” should decide whether funds are appropriated according to ESG standards, while a mere 20% believe that “Wall Street asset managers” should make such decisions.