Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate, sparred with a news anchor over a $50,000 George Soros scholarship — meant for immigrants — which he took when he was at Yale Law School in 2010.
The 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur, the youngest ever to enter the Republican presidential race, has pitched his campaign around the idea of promoting merit irrespective of colour and wants to end race-conscious policies, if he’s elected US President.
But, Ramaswamy was involved in a heated debate with MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan over the Yale scholarship named after George Soros — a name which has caused ripples within the Republican Party in the past.
He said he took the money since he needed it and asserted that the scholarship made a huge difference to him.
“My defence is, if somebody gives you a merit scholarship, why not take it at the age of 24,” Ramaswamy told Hasan.
Hasan, the host, asked him why he wanted the money despite the fact that he was now earning “in millions”. To this, Ramaswamy replied, “I did not say I didn’t have the money. I had a lot less money than that now.”
“That is why I released my tax returns for 20 years. Tell your Biden administration and Democrat friends to do the same thing,” Ramaswamy told Hasan, adding that the Yale scholarship was the “first big piece of money” for him.
Ramaswamy earned his fortune in finance and biotech and his net worth is believed to be around $950 million.
Showing a copy of Ramaswamy’s tax returns for 2009-10, Hasan grilled him on whether he had made $750,000 dollars. “Not at the time I had applied for the (Soros) scholarship,” Ramaswamy responded.
Hasan further said, “Yes, you did, Vivek. This is awkward for you because you did. I’ve got the tax returns in front of my face.”
Not wanting to back down, Ramaswamy hit back at Hasan, “Why are you wasting your time on childish details… Why on Earth are you, as an intelligent person, obsessed with politics and obsessed over a 24-year-old’s $50,000 scholarship?”
Hasan responded saying he was interested in “knowing” the truth.
Ramaswamy retorted, “I think it’s sad and pathetic that we have important issues to talk about for the future of the country and you’re talking about a $50,000 scholarship in 2010 to go to Yale law school when I was 24.” He graduated from Yale in 2013.
“$50,000 did make a big difference to me. Anybody who has hundreds of dollars in the bank is going to take $50,000 without strings attached,” he said.
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