Republican primary presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy joined TikTok months after describing the social media app as a means to deliver “digital fentanyl” to people.
Joining TikTok: Ramaswamy uploaded his first video to the platform on Sept. 14, announcing that he is “officially on TikTok” and will be on the platform “a lot.” “You can’t play in the game and then not play in the game,” he says in the video.
Why he joined: Ramaswamy’s decision was part of his campaign to reach and “energize young people,” he explains in the video.
Jake Paul’s influence: In a post on X, moments before his TikTok channel went live, the GOP candidate also credited YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul for convincing him to create a TikTok account. The duo also appeared in a video with Paul dancing together as they announced the opening of his channel.
“We’re literally addicted to China,” he wrote in his post on X in May. “They push digital fentanyl via TikTok.”
TikTok reactions: Ramaswamy’s first TikTok video was met with a wide range of comments, with some showing their support for the candidate, while others welcomed him with jokes and mockery.
“Vivek me and all my 200 friends were going to vote for you but you’re right about people under 25 not voting so we just won’t, thanks for your wisdom,” one TikTok comment read.
Ramaswamy’s standing: About 11% of voters aged 18 to 29 chose Ramaswamy as their candidate in a YouGov poll conducted between Sept. 10 and 12. Former president Donald Trump received 46% support in the same age bracket in the survey, followed by Mike Pence.
The GOP primary candidate also won a post-debate poll following the first Republican presidential primary debate on Aug. 23. He beat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by one point after scoring 28% in the survey.