CNN was forced to deny ever scheduling a town hall with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy after he announced that the network would host him on September 12.
Ramaswamy expressed enthusiasm for the nonexistent town hall in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. He said he would be able to "handle the heat" and told his supporters to "buckle up."
You can see his message below.
Yes, it's still up despite being completely manufactured.
Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that the event was never officially confirmed and that Ramaswamy had attempted to "will it into existence."
According to insiders, Ramaswamy's campaign posted the tweet about the CNN town hall after the network informed them that the event was not scheduled for that date. It appears that Ramaswamy's team was confident enough that the town hall would in fact happen that some of his campaign team purchased tickets for the U.S. Open, intending to be in New York during that week.
In response to the controversy, a CNN spokesperson released a blunt fact-check, per Semafor:
“The information in Mr. Ramaswamy’s post is incorrect and there is not a CNN Town Hall currently planned for September 12th.”
However, a spokesperson for Ramaswamy’s campaign claimed that CNN had confirmed the September 12 slot—and had selected a moderator in advance.
Vivek was swiftly criticized after CNN's statement went viral.
Ramaswamy has played fast and loose with the truth.
Ramaswamy, whose wealth comes from biotech and financial businesses, has previously been called out for referring to himself as a "scientist" who has developed "a number of medicines" even though he only has a biology degree and has never worked as a scientist.
He has aligned himself with the far-right over the course of his campaign by claiming to oppose corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives even though he, through his nonprofit, Roivant Social Ventures (RSV), has promoted health equity and diversity within the biopharma and biotech industries.
Ramaswamy has also come under fire for playing both sides in regard to former President Donald Trump, for whom he has expressed his support despite running against each other for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
While pledging to pardon Trump in the event he wins the presidential race, Ramaswamy previously condemned him for inciting the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, a fact he refused to address during a recent interview with MSNBC host Medhi Hasan, who couldn't get him to elaborate on why he'd once referred to Trump's actions as "downright abhorrent."