Vivek Ramaswamy and CNN are locked in a bizarre dispute about a supposed upcoming appearance on the network.
Last week, the Republican presidential candidate announced that he would be appearing in a town hall on the cable news network.
“Townhall with @CNN on Tuesday, Sept 12 in New York City. We can handle the heat. Let’s see if they can too. Buckle up.” he wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
But two sources familiar with the matter said that Ramaswamy got ahead of event planners, and the town hall was never confirmed. One added that the tweet seemed to be an attempt by Ramaswamy to “will it into existence,” and that Ramaswamy shared the news even after CNN told his campaign that a town hall was not going to happen on that day. And in a statement, an CNN spokesperson said that while the network is in regular communications with campaigns including Ramaswamy’s regarding potential town halls and other programming, the network does not have an event planned with the GOP candidate.
“The information in Mr. Ramaswamy’s post is incorrect and there is not a CNN Town Hall currently planned for September 12th,” the spokesperson said.
Ramaswamy’s campaign, Semafor is told, has been frustrated by the news because they built his schedule around a town hall event hosted by anchor Erin Burnett in New York, even buying tickets to the US Open. (Ramaswamy is an avid tennis fan.)
When Semafor shared the network’s statement with Ramaswamy’s campaign, his spokesperson said in a statement that they locked in the town hall for September 12, but CNN canceled the event, “vaguely” citing leadership changes within the network as the reason.
“We had reached an agreement for September 12 in New York and even selected a moderator,” spokeswoman Tricia McLaughlin said. “CNN says they are looking for another date.”
Since entering the presidential race, Ramaswamy’s primary media strategy has been to flood the zone with as many appearances as possible, with only a few exceptions about which venues or reporters it would not speak to.
Earlier this week, he appeared on former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s podcast. And despite the lack of likely Republican primary voters watching, over the past several weeks Ramaswamy has appeared on MSNBC during the lower-rated daytime hours, and on MSNBC’s streaming service.
But that ubiquity may make higher-profile platforms, like CNN’s, harder to get.
Ramaswamy’s go-everywhere media strategy has also come under pressure. After the Washington Free Beacon pointed out that Ramaswamy appeared on a podcast hosted by a YouTuber with a history of making anti-Semitic comments, a spokesperson for the Ramaswamy campaign said it would no longer work with the Free Beacon reporter who wrote the story.