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Vivek Ramaswamy doubles down on comparing US Rep. Ayanna Pressley to 'modern grand wizard' of the KKK

Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee.
Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News.Morry Gash/AP
  • GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy refused to back down from a rather surprising opinion.

  • Ramaswamy compared Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley and author Ibram X. Kendi to KKK grand wizards.

  • Pressley and Kendi are both Black.

After GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy compared a Black Congresswoman to the grand wizard of the KKK, one might think he'd relent.

Nope.

Ramaswamy is doubling down on his attack against Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley and activist author Ibram X. Kendi, both of whom he compared to the white supremacist organization responsible for horrific crimes against Black people.

On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning, host Dana Bash pressed the presidential candidate on how the comments in question were at all reminiscent of the KKK's message.

"There is a world view that says that the remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination, that, if you're Black or brown, you have to have a particular point of view. That's from Ibram Kendi. That's from Ayanna Pressley, the people I quoted in my speech yesterday," Ramaswamy said, suggesting they should be "intellectually honest" and "get to the heart" of the debate.

"But can you have an intellectually honest conversation when you accuse her of being a grand wizard of the KKK?" Bash pressed.

Ramaswamy did not back down.

 

While speaking at a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday, Ramaswamy took issue with a 2019 comment from Pressley about not needing "any more Black faces that don't want to be a Black voice," which her team said referenced her demand for diversity in policy, not just skin color, The Hill reported.

He also called out author Kendi for comments in his book, "How To Be Anti-Racist." A spokesperson for Kendi did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

"These are the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK," Ramaswamy said at the Iowa campaign stop, NBC reported.

Pressley, one of the more progressive Democrats in Congress, was the first Black woman elected to represent her state in Congress.

A spokesperson from Pressley's office referred Insider to a response the lawmaker made on MSNBC, where she discussed how members of her family had been terrorized by the KKK in the past.

"So for me, as deeply shameful and offensive and dangerous as his words are, he is not occupying any real estate in my mind," Pressley told MSNBC. "I remain squarely focused on the work of undoing the centuries of harm that has precisely been done to Black Americans and charting a path of true restorative justice and racial justice forward."

Her team did use Ramaswamy's comments for fundraising.

"We typically don't engage in these bad-faith attacks but yesterday a line was crossed. A GOP candidate referred to Ayanna as 'a modern grand wizard of the KKK' because she speaks out against racial injustice," Pressley's team said in the fundraising pitch, Politico reported. "This is backwards and harmful, but that is the point."

The controversial businessman and presidential candidate has decried "woke" culture, making it a center point of his campaign. His antics may be paying off as he surged in the polls following last week's first Republican presidential debate.

Read the original article on Business Insider