FORT MADISON, Iowa — Apoorva Ramaswamy had a simple request for two supporters of her husband’s presidential campaign: “What are people saying about why they don’t support Vivek Ramaswamy” and “what answers can I help you give?”
“Well, it’s the only one I have, and I can’t remember who told me that, but they mentioned his dark skin and they think he’s Muslim,” one supporter, Theresa Fowler, told him at a meet-and-greet at the restaurant on Thursday. . “I kind of directed them to this issue. I don’t know if they believe me or if they think I’m hiding for him, I don’t know.”
Apoorva Ramaswamy listened intently before replying, “There’s not much we can do about it.”
But the interaction highlighted comments that Apoorva Ramaswamy, a physician, faced throughout the day as he held events in the last days of the Ramaswamy campaign to meet prospective caucus members in the final days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. The questions made it clear that despite holding nearly 300 events in the state, more than any other presidential campaign, a number of Iowa Republicans still have questions about Ramaswamy’s faith, nationality and race. life many times during the campaign. Indian-American Nikki Haley faced similar questions during the 2024 race.
In an interview after the event, Fowler expanded on the concerns he heard from his own family members about Ramaswamy.
“They think he’s a Muslim, so it’s his nationality more than anything else,” he said. “Just looking at somebody, they can’t get out and you know … I’m working on them,” Fowler said.
Later, at an event in Jefferson County, Iowa, Apoorva Ramaswamy was grilled about his upbringing by one of two event attendees.
“How long have you been in the US, were you born here?” asked participant Wayne Kneeskern of Fairfield, Iowa.
“No, I came when I was 4. Vivek was born and raised in Cincinnati,” Apoorva Ramaswamy replied, explaining his family’s Indian heritage.
Attendee Apoorva Ramaswamy’s parents — who followed up with questions about where they lived and whether they had green cards (citizens) — pointed out that he didn’t have an accent.
“I’ve been here since I was 4 years old,” Apoorva Ramaswamy replied. “I have been speaking English since I was 4 years old.”
In an interview after the event, Kneeskern explained that she “loves outsiders,” referring to what she describes as her two “unofficially adopted” children. He said he asked about Apoorva Ramaswamy’s upbringing because the Ramaswamys had “bad things” to say about the state of the country. Kokusunda is yet to decide who he will support, but said it will not be Ramaswamy.
He particularly takes issue with Vivek Ramaswamy’s “10 truths” platform and calls for a “revolution”, interpreting it as a “rebellion against the country you love”.
“I keep thinking, if it’s so bad, why did you come here,” Kneeskern said. “I am afraid that this man will become a dictator [Donald] It will be Trump.”
At numerous events, Apoorva Ramaswamy found himself explaining his religious views to voters who were interested in his “stance on religion” and his “faith”.
In the early days of his campaign, Vivek Ramaswamy faced many questions On the Hindu faith he eventually included an explanation of Hinduism in his campaign stump speech. Apoorva Ramaswamy ultimately did the same, linking the tenets of Hinduism with her husband’s desire to run for higher office several times throughout the day.
“We don’t come from a traditional background for most presidential candidates. We are Hindus. …When people hear that we are Hindus, we realize, “What does that mean, who are you, what does that mean?” who do you want to know,” he began.
“Our religion teaches us that we are all put here by God for a purpose,” he said. “And everyone has been given a gift by God, and it’s our job to make the best use of those gifts while we’re on this earth. And that’s why we do it in many ways.”
This explanation pleased some voters more than others.
At the final event of the day, a small meet-and-greet event in Jasper County, an Iowan tried to ease the concerns of another attendee who questioned Apoorva Ramaswamy’s faith.
“[Barack] Obama, he was not a Christian,” the person, who declined to be named, repeated the conspiracy theory often voiced about the former president’s religious views. “We can share the same values, that’s what really matters. There is no perfect person, there is only one.”
Apoorva Ramaswamy refused to speak to the news media at any of his stops during the day. Although she and her two sons, Vivek Ramaswamy, have been seen on the campaign trail since he ran last year, she has been holding more events on her own in the past few weeks as the campaign spreads its resources across Iowa. January 15 caucuses.