In an interview with Meet the Press, 2024 GOP presidential primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy debates gender issues with Chuck Todd.
Chuck Todd: And Vivek Ramaswamy joins me now. Mr. Ramaswamy welcome back to, actually, welcome to Sunday Meet the Press.
Vivek Ramaswamy: Thank you, good to see you again chuck.
Chuck Todd: Let me start with this overall look. You’ve got this anti-wolkism. You’ve written books about this. You, this is your political identity as you’ve introduced yourself to folks. I get it in a primary. Why are you convinced this message could actually work if you got the nomination in a general election?
Vivek Ramaswamy: I think, I’m speaking as a member of my generation here, Chuck, but I think it’s true of all Americans. We’re all hungry for a cause right now in America. We’re hungry for purpose and meaning. At a point when the things that used to fill our hunger for purpose, faith, patriotism family, hard work, these things have disappeared. So, I see an opportunity to revive our missing national identity. I think that’s something that Americans hunger for across the political spectrum, answering what it means to be an American today. You ask people my age that question, you get a blank stare in response. I think that is the vacuum at the heart of our national soul. I’m running for president to revive the ideals that actually set the nation into motion. I think it’s going to unite the country.
Chuck Todd: You know it’s interesting, your rhetoric can sound uniting in your answer just now, but then you, you say the following things the trans movement has become a cult. We need to abandon climate religion in America. I definitely find the idea of systemic racism revolting. I say this, how do you square those statements with unification. These are divisive times. This is a polarizing time. We’re pretty evenly divided on these cultural issues. How do nite, how do you unite the country when you’re essentially denigrating the views of half of the country.
Vivek Ramaswamy: I don’t think I’m denigrating the views of half the country. I mean, let’s take the touchiest of those subjects right now on the trans issue. I think that when a kid says that I’m born into the wrong body, that my gender doesn’t match my biological sex. More often than not that is a case of a mental health disorder. That doesn’t mean you disrespect that person. It means they’re crying out for help. I met with two young women who regret the decisions they made, going through double mastectomies, one a hysterectomy, chemical intervention, now trying to teach kids across the country that when you’re struggling inside, going through adolescence, yes that involves some struggle. We live in a cultural moment today where adults are affirming that confusion, rather than actually treating them compassionately. That’s cruelty.
Chuck Todd: Have you ever talked to parents that I have a, a kid who’s going through this?
Vivek Ramaswamy: I have, actually. Yeah. and I think . . .
Chuck Todd: My point is . . .
Vivek Ramaswamy: It’s a difficult place to be, I acknowledge that. But what we need to do on both sides here is act with compassion, not really what makes us feel good about ourselves. And I think that’s my main issue across what are response to transgenderism and of the climate. It’s solving the actual underlying issues, rather than what allows you to signal your virtue.
Chuck Todd: What makes it compassionate though to pass a law that denies a parent making their own healthcare decision for their kid? That’s the part of this, that doesn’t sound very conservative in small government.
Vivek Ramaswamy: Look, there isn’t a state in this union that allows you to smoke and addictive cigarette before the age of 18, that allows you to get a tattoo before the age of 18. That’s a body altering change that a kid may later regret in life. So I think it is perfectly reasonable to say that if you’re after 18 years old you’re free to decide whatever you want to do, that’s what it means to live in a free country, but below the age of 18, I think it’s perfectly legitimate to say that we won’t allow genital mutilation or chemical castration through puberty blockers for the purpose of gender transition.
Chuck Todd: You’re calling it that, but how do you know it’s that? Again, how do you know, are you confident that you know that gender is as binary as you’re describing it? Are you confident that isn’t a spectrum?
Vivek Ramaswamy: I am. I am.
Chuck Todd: Do you know this as a scientist?
Vivek Ramaswamy: Well, there’s two X chromosomes if you’re a woman, an X and Y, that means your a man. There’s a biological basis for this.
Chuck Todd: There’s a lot of scientific research out there, There’s a lot of scientific research out there that says gender is a spectrum.
Vivek Ramaswamy: Chuck, I respectfully disagree. Gender dysphoria for most of our history, all the way through the DSM-5, has been characterized as a mental health disorder, and I don’t think it’s compassionate to affirm that. I think that’s cruelty. When a kid is crying out for help, what they’re asking for is, you’ve got to ask the question of what else What else is going wrong at home, what else is going wrong at school. Let’s be compassionate and get to the heart of that rather than playing this game as though we’re actually changing our medical understanding for last hundred years.
Chuck Todd: I go back to this. If a parent is dealing with a child that has these, that they may have these issues, trust me, the parent, the last thing they want to do is consider something like this. But if that is what they think could help their child pursue happiness or they’re, not to kill themselves, why take away that option? Again, why shouldn’t it be up to the parents?
Vivek Ramaswamy: So, part of why parents now suddenly feel that way, let’s ask ourselves that, Chuck. Because we’ve created a culture that teaches parents that they’re being bigoted, or that they’re bad people, if they don’t actually take those steps. So part of what I think is . . . listen gender dysphoria, for the rare few people who have suffered it, is a condition of suffering. My question is why on earth are we going out of our way to create even more of it. And there’s no doubt that the cultural movement in this country, even education, is creating more gender dysphoria. If it’s a condition of suffering, let’s not create more of it. That’s what we’re doing.