Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy Saturday proposed replacing Juneteenth with Election Day, as a national holiday.
“Single day voting, on Election Day,” the longshot 2024 White House contender suggested to Iowa voters. “We will make Election Day a holiday in the United States of America, so there’s no complaints about it.”
Rather than add another expensive federal holiday, the 37-year-old businessman turned politician suggested replacing one of 11 existing holidays with Election Day.
“Cancel Juneteenth or one of the other useless ones we made up,” Ramaswamy reasoned. “You can’t have everything be a holiday, but we’ll cancel one of the other ones and make Election Day a holiday.”
The celebration commemorates federal troops announcing the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 to black residents of Galveston, Texas, after arriving there in 1865.
It was the first new U.S. federal holiday since the government added Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983, according to a report from The New York Post.
Ramaswamy confirmed to NBC News that he considers Juneteenth to be a useless holiday in a report published Sunday.
The report contrasted the GOP presidential candidate’s current position with statements he made earlier in the summer about the holiday.
“Juneteenth is a new holiday so we still have a chance to define what it means to us,” Ramaswamy said in a June 19 X post. “It needn’t be about grievance & self-flogging. Let it be a celebration of the American Dream itself.”
The candidate does not consider Veterans Day or Memorial Day useless holidays, according to the NBC report.
“I stand with the presumption of time-tested traditions,” he said.
Ramaswamy Saturday labeled the Juneteenth holiday “redundant,” saying it overlapped with Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.
“The reason for making it a holiday was under political duress,” Ramaswamy remarked to the Iowa audience. “It was a political hostage situation on the back of the death of George Floyd.”
Fellow candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination Will Hurd criticized Ramaswamy for saying he “hopes to cancel a holiday that celebrates equality and freedom.”
“His gimmicks and shtick aren’t serious,” huffed Hurd, who is biracial.
Ramaswamy’s comments have drawn attention and critique from various corners.
He trails in Republican primary surveys, polling at 6%, well behind former President Donald Trump, who leads with 53.7%, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) with 15.7% of the vote.