by Nick Robertson – 11/08/23 9:15 PM ET
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy appeared to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “Nazi” during the GOP debate Wednesday, with his campaign later seeking to clarify his remarks.
During a sweeping critique of the Ukrainian government, the entrepreneur and vocal Ukraine critic ticked off a number of ways in which he argued that Kyiv was “undemocratic.”
“Ukraine is not a paragon of democracy,” Ramaswamy said. “This is a country that has banned 11 opposition parties. It has consolidated all media into one state TV media arm. That’s not democratic. It has threatened not to hold elections this year unless the U.S. forks over more money. That is not democratic.”
“It celebrated a Nazi in its ranks — the comedian in cargo pants, a man called Zelensky — doing it in their own ranks. That is not democratic,” he continued.
Ramaswamy’s campaign later told The Hill and other outlets that the candidate did not intend to refer to Zelensky when he made the Nazi comment.
The campaign said Ramaswamy was rather meaning to speak of an incident in the Canadian Parliament in September where the Parliament celebrated a 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian veteran who was later identified as having served in the Nazi military.