Rising Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy stirred up a controversy for himself recently by talking about cutting American aid to Israel, the only democracy in its part of the world and a strong ally to America.
Now he’s updating, or clarifying, or reversing, depending on political persuasion.
It is the Washington Free Beacon that reports he says funding to Israel should continue until Jerusalem “tells the U.S. that it no longer needs the aid.”
He was “facing backlash,” the report explained because the statement is different from his challenge earlier this month that “come 2028, that additional aid won’t be necessary.”
The U.S. now sends Israel about $3 billion annually, most of which is spent in the U.S. defense industry.
After the earlier statement, he took criticism from pro-Israel leaders and Nikki Haley, who also is seeking the GOP nomination for president.
She charged he was “completely wrong to call for ending America’s special bond with Israel.”
He responded to Haley, also an Indian-American, “Keep lying, Nimarata Randhawa.”
The report explained Haley’s maiden name was Randhawa prior to her marriage to Michael Haley in 1996. Her first name is Nimarata, although she goes by her middle name Nikki.
Ramaswamy’s campaign also said he would want to “partner with Israel to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear capabilities.”
His comments about ending aid came in an interview with the Free Beacon when he said aid could be cut off when the current spending plan adopted by Congress expires in 2028.
He said the aid would not be needed because his intent would be to negotiate new peace treaties involving Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Indonesia and Oman right away.
“If we’re successful, the true mark of success for the U.S., and for Israel, will be to get to a 2028 where Israel is so strongly standing on its own two feet, integrated into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, that it will not require and be dependent on that same level of historical aid or commitment from the U.S.,” said Ramaswamy.
Weeks ago, he said the U.S. could roll back military aid if it’s part of a “broader disengagement” in the Middle East issues.
The report said the “fact-check” on Ramaswamy’s website was changed this week to affirm he wouldn’t “cut aid to Israel until Israel tells the U.S. that it no longer needs the aid.”
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“That’s what Vivek actually said, so don’t believe the opponents’ lies that he wants to cut aid to Israel—which makes zero sense as a foreign policy priority any time in the foreseeable future,” said Ramaswamy’s campaign.
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