— VAIL, Iowa Saturday, during a conversation with Iowa electors, Vivek Ramaswamy proposed eliminating Juneteenth as a “useless” holiday.
However, he posted a video on social media commemorating the day less than two months ago.
During his explanation of his plan to institute a national voting holiday, the Republican presidential candidate proposed eliminating an existing holiday on Saturday to make room for the new one.
Ramaswamy told an applauding crowd congregated at a welding company, “Cancel Juneteenth or one of the other meaningless holidays we made up.”
When NBC News asked Ramaswamy to clarify whether he believed Juneteenth to be a “useless” holiday, he responded, “I basically do.”
Less than two months ago, on Juneteenth, Ramaswamy discussed the celebration differently.
“We don’t just look back and beat ourselves up,” Ramaswamy said in the video posted to his social media account on the platform formerly known as Twitter on June 19, 2023.
“What we applaud is our progress. And as a first-generation American, you can rest assured that I am proud of it. Everyone, happy Juneteenth!” he added.
When NBC News asked Ramaswamy on Saturday if he thought Veterans Day and Memorial Day were also pointless festivals, he said he did not.
“I stand with the presumption of time-tested traditions,” Ramaswamy stated.
Despite becoming a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1866.
And in 2004, President George W. Bush commemorated the holiday with a statement.
Saturday, Ramaswamy referred to the Juneteenth celebration as “redundant,” citing its concurrence with holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day.
However, Juneteenth is a celebration of something entirely distinct. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of Union troops in Galveston Bay, Texas, and the proclamation that a quarter million black people were free.
“The reason for making it a holiday was due to political pressure; it was a political hostage situation following the death of George Floyd,” Ramaswamy explained.
This past Juneteenth, the NAACP released a statement stating, “Today, we celebrate our emancipation while also acknowledging that we are still fighting for true freedom.”