Never one to shy away from a skirmish with the media, 2024 GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy made headlines earlier this week for a response he gave a Washington Post reporter about whether or not he condemns “white supremacy and white nationalism.”
That topic came up again during a sit down with NBC News. Reporter Dasha Burns attempted to challenge Ramaswamy’s understanding of “white supremacy” and tragedies like the Charleston church shooting in 2015, but the questioning didn’t exactly go according to plan.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Jesse Kelly, host of TheFirst TV’s I’m Right, to discuss Ramaswamy’s back and forth with Burns and why he earned an “A++” for his showing.
Ramaswamy vs. NBC News
During an interview that aired on Thursday, Burns and Ramaswamy got into a heated discussion about race relations in America. It began when Burns attempted to summarize the headline-making comments Ramaswamy had made the night before about white supremacy.
“Let’s talk about white supremacy and what happened last night for a moment, ’cause when you were talking to reporters last night, you called white supremacy a myth,” Burns said. “When someone asked you about Dylann Roof, you said you didn’t know who that is. Have you looked up what happened in 2015–“
Ramaswamy jumped in. “I said this last night. Invidious racial discrimination is wrong no matter how it happens. But if a Washington Post reporter is asking me almost like a catechism, whatever question I said, ‘I’m against invidious racial discrimination, whatever form it takes,’ but says, ‘Do you denounce white supremacy,’ it’s incumbent on us to define what white supremacy is,” he explained. “And I wrote my book Woke, Inc., and I’ve written about the detailed understanding of what the popular understanding of these terms have come to mean. Do you believe punctuality is a vestige of white supremacy, Dasha?”
That set off a minutes-long debate that saw the pair regularly talking over and interrupting each other. But the conversation took several interesting turns. At one point, Ramaswamy refuted Burns’ use of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a credible source.
Burns: And yet, you have examples like the Buffalo shooter–
Ramaswamy: Look at the federal law enforcement’s data.
Burns: –in New York just in 2022–
Ramaswamy: Cherry picked. You have other examples–
Burns: But you are also cherry picking when you bring up Jussie Smollett–
Ramaswamy: So, I’ll look at all the statistics. More Black-on-Black crime–
Ramaswamy: If you really care about actual crime against Black Americans, let’s get to the root causes of it in the inner cities of this country–
Burns: Look, the Anti-Defamation League tracked a 38% increase–
Ramaswamy: –for Black Americans, and people don’t give a second care about that happening.
Ramaswamy: –in white supremacist propaganda last year–
Ramaswamy: Who’s tracking that?
Burns: The Anti-Defamation League–
Ramaswamy: Yeah, the ADL I don’t think is a particularly credible source…
In another portion of the exchange Burns suggested Ramaswamy’s rhetoric was hurting the GOP among minority voters – an assertion he flatly denied.
Burns: Do you not worry that your rhetoric–
Ramaswamy: No. I think–
Burns: –is pushing them away? There are folks in–
Ramaswamy: To the contrary. I think we’re gonna bring Black people into this movement–
Burns: –the GOP right now who are concerned about your rhetoric.
Ramaswamy: Well, you know what? I’m concerned about their corruption…
Burns: Affirmative action is a debate that is being had. You can debate–
Ramaswamy: If I may just finish this.
Ramaswamy: If I may finish my point, Dasha.
Burns: –to deal with racism.
Ramaswamy: I think I will be better positioned–
Burns: But you denying that racism is a problem–
Ramaswamy: I’ve never denied that racism is a problem… We’re getting close to the Promised Land that Martin Luther King envisioned. We’re as darn close to it as we ever have been. And so, what bothers the heck out of me is it’s right when we’re close to that Promised Land. Martin Luther King said it. “I may not get there with you,” and he didn’t get there with us. But I think it desecrates the legacy of our Civil Rights Movement, desecrates the legacy of Martin Luther King that right when we get closest to the point of having racial equality, and gender equality, and even opportunities for minorities of many types. Are we perfect? No. But are we as close as we’ve ever been? Yes, we have. To then obsess over systemic racism, to then obsess over white guilt on otherwise, we’re creating new waves of racism, Dasha, that we otherwise would have avoided right when we’re closest to having achieved what even the proponents of the Civil Rights Movement would have dreamed of…
While both Megyn and Kelly have been critical of Ramaswamy at different points of his campaign, they agreed that he offered a masterclass in how to deal with the media. “Boom. That’s how it’s done right there,” Megyn said, offering him an “A++” grade.
Kelly, who maintains that he doesn’t “trust” Ramaswamy “at all,” admitted that the candidate deserves “all the credit in the world” for that exchange. “He’s become a chaos agent, which we need on the right,” he noted. “He’s someone who’s smart enough and charismatic enough to change the conversation and make these people look and feel stupid.”
To that point, Megyn said Burns should have picked a different target. “He saw her coming from a mile away and is obviously way smarter than she is,” she explained. “One of the things that struck me was here she is clearly trying to perform for her leftist base over on NBC… and it was it’s so nice to hear a politician who has done his homework.”
In Megyn’s view, Burns is trying to rehab her image in the wake of controversial remarks she made about then-candidate John Fetterman’s faculties after a sit down on the campaign trail. “I think you got shamed after your John Fetterman interview because you told the truth about what a mess he was in that particular sit down and ever since you’ve been trying to make it up to your leftist base to prove you’re one of them,” she concluded. “Dasha, you embarrassed yourself.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kelly by tuning in to episode 696 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.