Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said that he'd pardon former president Donald Trump in all federal cases and that he'd like to team up with the former president to dismantle the deep state.
Mr. Ramaswamy made the remarks in an Aug. 15 interview on Fox News with host Neil Cavuto, who asked the presidential hopeful why he has called the indictments against Mr. Trump "political persecutions."
He replied by saying that the latest Georgia indictment brings the total number to four—all in the middle of election season with the first Republican primary debate just days away.
"I think it sets an awful precedent in our country for the ruling party, the party in power, to use police force to indict its political opponents in the middle of an election," he said.
'I Would Pardon Donald Trump'
While Mr. Ramasway said it would clearly be "a lot easier" for him to win if Mr. Trump were to be eliminated from competition, that's not the kind of victory he wants.
"The way we win elections in this country, at least the way it should be, is that we convince the voters of this country of our vision, and what we stand for, and that's why I've said that I would pardon—at least for the federal crimes—I would pardon Donald Trump to help move this nation forward," Mr. Ramaswamy said.
He continued by saying that these "politicized indictments" of Mr. Trump have distracted voters from the fundamental issue, namely "explaining why Bidenomics is actually a farce."
Mr. Ramaswamy, a successful businessman, pointed to ongoing labor crunch that has businesses struggling to find qualified workers and high inflation, which he believes has become entrenched.
"These prosecutions [of Mr. Trump] are wrong," Mr. Ramaswamy insisted, prompting the host, Mr. Cavuto, to push back and suggest that of the total of 91 criminal charges against the former president, surely some are legitimate.
Mr. Ramaswamy rejected this argument, warning of a shift in the political culture of the nation that rejects the "innocent until proven guilty" premise and assumes some wrongdoing just because of the sheer number of charges.
"I think that's a people of sheep. And when people behave like sheep, that breeds a government of wolves," he said.
After explaining that he sees prosecutors coming up with "novel legal theories" to indict a former president and current Republican frontrunner, it's "just not good for the country."
The right answer is for the country to move forward "not get into a weaponized tug of war between two political parties and then make a habit of using politicized police force against their political opponents."
"That is the stuff of banana republics," he said.
'Shut Down the Deep State'
The discussion then turned to remarks Mr. Ramaswamy made recently about seeking Mr. Trump's advice on various issues if elected to office in 2024.
Mr. Ramaswamy explained that he'd consider some of his rivals in the GOP primary field to serve in his cabinet, but that's not a role he would envisage for the former president.
"The role I'd want to see him play is to ... be an adviser on understanding where he might have fallen short, if he were to do it again, on shutting down the administrative state," he said, adding that dismantling America's vast bureaucracy would be top of his domestic policy agenda.
Mr. Trump came to power in 2016 in part on a promise to slim down the administrative state and unleash private-sector activity and innovation by cutting red tape.
He faced considerable opposition to this task, with the now infamous 2017 memo titled, "POTUS & Political Warfare," detailing some of what it described as an attack on the Trump White House across multiple fronts.
Authored by Rich Higgins, who at the time was in the strategic planning office at the National Security Council (NSC), the memo said that Mr. Trump was being undermined because he represented "an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative" and that some of those who feel threatened by the former president included "'deep state' actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans."
"For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed," the memo stated. "Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that seeks the destruction of a sitting president."
Aware of the power of the administrative state to push back on efforts at change—especially if it involves slimming the vast Washington bureaucracy—Mr. Ramaswamy pledged to cut government staffing levels.
"Shut down that administrative bureaucracy, shut down the deep state, reduce the federal employee headcount by over 75 percent," he said.
"Mass layoffs are absolutely what I am bringing to the D.C. bureaucracy," Mr. Ramaswamy continued, adding that he would seek out Mr. Trump's guidance and insights from lessons the former president learned when he took on the deep state.
"I would like to not have to learn those lessons all over again but to build on where President Trump left off with the America First agenda," adding that he aims to take that agenda "to the next level" and accept everybody's help in achieving that goal, including the former president's.
Mr. Ramaswamy's latest remarks on Fox News about partnering with Mr. Trump build on what he said at his town hall with NewsNation on Monday night.
"I expect to take him as an adviser as well as I’m actually taking to the next level our America First agenda, shutting down that administrative state,” he said during that event.
“There were some forces that stopped him that I expect will not stop me. But I will be proud to still learn from the foundation that he laid and even understand what he would have done differently.”
Earlier, at a fireside chat with Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, Mr. Ramaswamy provided more details about the 75 percent headcount cut across the federal employee base.
He said that in his first year, he'd accomplish 50 percent headcount reduction and set his sights on taking on government agencies that "should not exist."
Mr. Ramaswamy specifically mentioned the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Education.
"Get in there and shut them down," he said.
He also pledged to impose term limits on civil servants, while giving Mr. Trump credit for his efforts to tackle the vast government bureaucracy.
"He's the first person of either political party to have identified this rot of a problem," Mr. Ramaswamy said.
"That wasn't me, I was in the business world back when he was doing it. So I give him immense credit for actually having the courage to identify the problem of the deep state," adding that he's eager to learn from him and continue from where he left off.