The Real Story Behind Vivek Ramaswamy’s Rags-to-Riches Tale

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has been making waves on the campaign trail with his compelling rags-to-riches narrative.

He often recounts how his parents immigrated to the U.S. with nothing, and how he, in turn, built multi-billion dollar companies from scratch. However, a closer look at public records and Ramaswamy’s past writings reveals a more complex story.

Ramaswamy, during the Fox News-hosted debate in Milwaukee, positioned himself as an entrepreneur, not a politician. He emphasized his humble beginnings and his support for school choice, stating that he “didn’t grow up [with] money.”

This narrative is a key part of his strategy to connect with voters and differentiate himself from former President Trump. In fact, he claimed that unlike Trump, he “actually built the companies from scratch.”

However, when Ramaswamy accepted a scholarship award in 2011, he was already a millionaire. At the time, he was a first-year law student at Yale and had been working as an investment analyst at the hedge fund QVT Financial.

His tax returns from that year reported a total income of over $2 million. His campaign spokesperson, Tricia McLaughlin, defended this by stating that the scholarship was generic and won by hundreds of students to attend graduate school.

Ramaswamy’s upbringing also paints a different picture than the one he portrays on the campaign trail. His mother, a geriatric psychiatrist, obtained her Ohio medical license less than two years after arriving in the U.S.

She worked at a private practice in Cincinnati from the time Vivek was four until he went to college. His father, a patent attorney at General Electric, provided a second income for the family. Ramaswamy himself attended an elite private high school in Cincinnati, where tuition today costs over $16,000 per year.

Despite his claims of not inheriting anything, public records show that his parents established a stock portfolio for him that was generating hundreds of dollars in dividends before he graduated high school and thousands by the time he attended Harvard.

Both of Ramaswamy’s parents were highly educated professionals in India before they moved to the U.S. His father held a graduate degree in engineering, and his mother held a medical degree in geriatric psychiatry.

Ramaswamy’s rise in the polls led to increased scrutiny of his past. He recently defended himself for accepting a $90,000 award from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, which he previously said he needed to pay for law school.

He stated he “didn’t have the money” to afford Yale Law School after graduating from Harvard. However, it’s worth noting Ramaswamy was already a millionaire when he accepted this award.

While Ramaswamy’s entrepreneurial success is undeniable, his portrayal of his upbringing and financial situation appears to be more nuanced than his campaign narrative suggests.