GOP Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy: Juneteenth Holiday is Useless, Let’s Consider Canceling It

GOP Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy: Juneteenth Holiday is Useless, Let’s Consider Canceling It


Vivek Ramaswamy in Des Moines, Iowa, July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wants the country to stop celebrating Juneteenth, which was just made into a federal holiday on June 19, 2021.

According to Ramaswamy, Juneteenth is a “useless” holiday.

His remarks came during a campaign event in Iowa, a vital early-voting caucus state.

Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur and a candidate in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries. Born in Cincinnati to Indian immigrant parents, he graduated from Harvard College and later earned a J.D. from Yale Law School. He founded biotech company Roivant Sciences in 2014, stepping down as CEO of Roivant in 2021 and as chairman in 2023. In 2022, Ramaswamy co-founded Strive Asset Management, an investment firm that positions itself in opposition to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). In February 2023, Ramaswamy declared his candidacy for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the 2024 election.

Ramaswamy, who has an estimated net worth of $630 million, rose to prominence in conservative circles as an “anti-woke” activist.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed African-Americans slaves in that state of their freedom, a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued.

Ramaswamy proposed the idea of replacing the new holiday with a national voting holiday, consolidating voting to a single day, Business Insider reported.

“Single day voting, on Election Day. We will make Election Day a holiday. Cancel Juneteenth or one of the other useless ones we made up,” he said. “We can’t have like every day be a holiday, but we can cancel one of the other ones and make Election Day a holiday, paper ballots, and government-issued voter ID that matches the voter file.”

When NBC News asked Ramaswamy on whether he thought Juneteenth was a “useless” holiday, he replied: “I basically do.”

When asked by the network whether Memorial Day and Veterans Day were “useless” holidays as well, Ramaswamy said, “I stand with the presumption of time-tested traditions. I think that if we made a national commemorative holiday for everything that’s important that’s happened in our history, we’d have no working days left. But I think the spirit of Juneteenth we already channel into other holidays like Martin Luther King Day. Like Presidents’ Day.”

“We shouldn’t have redundant holidays that celebrate overlapping purposes. It should have a distinctive purpose,” he continued. “I think — let’s be honest. The reason for making it a holiday was under political duress. It was a political hostage situation on the back of the death of George Floyd, and I think that should not be how we create holidays.”

Interestingly now that it is campaign season, Ramaswamy’s stance on Juneteenth seems to have changed. Just two months, he wrote a post on Twitter that Juneteenth is a “celebration of the American dream.”

“We don’t just look back and flog ourselves. That’s beside the point,” he posted. “What we celebrate is how far we’ve come, and as a first-generation American myself, you better believe that I’m proud of it. Happy Juneteenth, everybody.”

Ramaswamy now contends that Juneteenth was established under “political duress” in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police in Minneapolis in 2020, despite civil rights advocates having pushed for decades for the date to be federally recognized.

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments of the past. They embrace them. Great nations don’t walk away,” Biden said at the time during the signing ceremony at the White House.

Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa’s 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)