Vivek Ramaswamy Seen Distributing Myanmar-Made Hats Days After Promising He Won’t Use Them
Vivek Ramaswamy's campaign hats from an oppressive nation continued to be distributed on the campaign trail as recently as last week, even after the Republican presidential candidate claimed he'd stop giving them out, revealed a Raw Story source who asked to remain anonymous to preserve their employment.
During a campaign event in Iowa on September 13, caps bearing the slogan "Truth. Vote Vivek" were distributed. In a video he shared on X, Ramaswamy can be seen placing the black baseball cap himself on a supporter.
Swaps out one hat for another. Same movement, just a changing of the guards. pic.twitter.com/dJ50wtzUlT— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) September 16, 2023
This comes just days after Raw Story first revealed that Ramaswamy's black baseball hats were made in Myanmar, a nation infamous for human rights abuses and governed by a military with deep links to China, a nation against whom Ramaswamy is fervently campaigning. In the video Ramaswamy shared, he asks a staff member for a "truth hat" and then says to a man wearing a Donald Trump cap in camouflage, "May I personally put this on you?" Ramaswamy then puts the hat on him, thanking the supporter once more and stating, "Speak the truth."
After Raw Story inquired about the hats on Sept. 8, Ramaswamy's campaign promised to stop using them. “When this was brought to Vivek’s attention, he said we were changing it. He was not aware at all of the source, and it has been changed,” Stefan Mychajliw, deputy communications director for Ramaswamy’s campaign.
📍Spencer, Iowa — Vivek Ramaswamy meets a young Iowan wearing one of his hats at the Clay County state fair pic.twitter.com/HKf4VllQK7— Alex Tabet (@AlexanderTabet) September 18, 2023
However, that change clearly did not materialize. Mychajliw claimed he had "no idea" what happened to the last "Made in Myanmar" caps and "no knowledge" that they were given out in Iowa last week. “Mr. Ramaswamy encouraged all of our teams to use the products made in the USA, and his focus is cutting a million federal jobs, the government bombing cartels to protect the southern border, and declaring independence in China. His sole focuses are domestic and foreign policy and his America First agenda."
Mychajliw claimed that Ramaswamy has "much bigger issues to be concerned about than running for president of the United States," but human rights specialists tell Raw Story that merchandise is an essential component of a candidate's public policy because it helps to normalize his positions with the general public, particularly for a candidate like Ramaswamy who has promoted an anti-China and "America first" foreign policy.
I think the importance of the story is the fact that Vivek Ramaswamy's campaign purchased them in the first place. Then they continue to use them disregarding the facts associated. It's an indication of the indifference to the Citizens of Myanmar. https://t.co/gLkmuR2WSE— Marilyn 🌊 🌊 🌊#ResistersUnitedVote2024 🇨🇦 (@mlauriat) September 21, 2023
“It's hypocritical on his part to claim that he wants to move away from China but is supporting products in places where China is very dominant, where it basically is behind many of these manufacturing companies,” says Irina Tsukerman, an expert on foreign policy, and a lawyer working on human rights and national security.
“It's really rather astonishing to me that he would stoop so low to have a piece of merchandise coming from a country that is one of the worst rights-abusing situations in the world,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division for Human Rights Watch. “It boggles the mind, frankly, that somehow they think it's alright to source something like a hat from Myanmar when any sort of brief Google search can come up with a full page of atrocities that have been committed by that military government.”
Some news about Vivek Ramaswamy, his campaign swag and the repressive nation of Myanmar. https://t.co/uh1nI88T1G— Raw Story (@RawStory) September 11, 2023
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