Vivek Ramaswamy is on TikTok now, thanks to Jake Paul.
In the week since he joined the platform, Ramaswamy has amassed about 33,000 followers, secured an endorsement from one of the most polarizing creators in YouTube history and attempted to establish himself as the millennial politician who’s cool enough to use TikTok but anti-woke enough to appeal to the right. He’s also been the butt of Gen Z’s relentless comments about edging to his videos.
“I care about the issues that affect not just millennials, but Gen Z and all young people in this country,” the Republican presidential candidate said in his inaugural video. “We have a generation of politicians that is badly out of touch.”
Ramaswamy’s TikTok presence diametrically opposes his previous stances on social media and young voters. During an Iowa town hall days before he launched his account, Ramaswamy described TikTok as “digital fentanyl” from China. He has also notoriously proposed barring anyone under 25 from voting, unless they serve in the military or pass a civics exam.
Paul, a YouTuber turned boxer who has been embroiled in a string of scandals since he was kicked off of Disney Channel’s “Bizaardvark” in 2017, convinced Ramaswamy to join the app. In a tweet, Ramaswamy admitted that despite privacy concerns, the Republican party can’t reach young voters without leaving their “echo chambers.”
Paul endorsed Ramaswamy in an unenthusiastic TikTok posted last weekend, which featured the candidate and influencer bouncing in what appears to be an attempt at matching the beat.
In follow up videos, Ramaswamy invited TikTok users to “keep the comments flowing,” which incited a fresh wave of edging jokes. He has not posted since.