(Headline USA) Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Juneteenth this week as a “useless” holiday that should be canceled.
Speaking at a campaign event in Iowa on Saturday, Ramaswamy argued that Juneteenth, which is meant to celebrate the end of slavery in the U.S., was only established as a national holiday “under political duress” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter riots in 2020.
“It was a political hostage situation on the back of the death of George Floyd and I think that should not be how we create holidays,” he said.
He also said the spirit of Juneteenth is already celebrated on various other national holidays, such as Martin Luther King Day.
“I think that if we made a national commemorative holiday for everything that’s important that happened in our history, we’d have no working days left,” Ramaswamy said. “We shouldn’t have redundant holidays that celebrate overlapping purposes. It should have a distinct purpose.”
Instead of Juneteenth, the U.S. should designate Election Day as a national holiday, he said.
“Single day voting on Election Day. We will make Election Day a holiday. Cancel Juneteenth or one of the other useless ones we made up,” he continued.
Ironically, on Juneteenth of this year, Ramaswamy posted a video discussing the holiday and the importance of celebrating the ability to “get ahead in this country based on your own hard work.”
“What we celebrate is how far we’ve come,” Ramaswamy said in the video. “And as a first-generation American myself, you better believe I’m proud of it. Happy Juneteenth, everybody.”
When asked in a follow-up interview whether he still believes Juneteenth is a “useless” holiday given his past statements on the holiday, Ramaswamy told NBC News: “I basically do.”
President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in 2021, declaring June 19 a federal holiday.