Local police in Iowa later disputed the Republican candidate’s version of events
Republican presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy has claimed that one of his vehicles was rammed by a pair of protesters during a campaign stop in Iowa, demanding that they be “held accountable.” The driver, however, maintains the bang-up was a simple accident.
Ramaswamy outlined the episode in a social media post on Thursday, noting that the run-in took place following a cordial debate with a group of protesters while campaigning in the city of Grinnell.
“Had a civil exchange with protesters today, right before two of them then got into their car [and] rammed it into ours,” the GOP candidate said. “Those two should be held accountable, but the rest of the peaceful protesters shouldn’t be tarred by the behavior of two bad actors.”
Campaign staffer Tricia McLaughlin later shared a photo and a brief video clip captured just prior to the collision, stating that the driver and passenger “laid on the horn and yelled ‘f**k you,’ among other profanities, before reverse-ramming their car into ours.” The driver of the vehicle can be seen displaying a middle finger toward Ramaswamy in the image, though it is unclear what led up to the dispute.
However, hours after Ramaswamy’s initial post, the Grinnell Police Department issued its own statement contesting parts of his story, saying it hoped to “clarify information circulating on social media concerning the details of this accident.”
“It was reported on social media that two protesters intentionally rammed into Ramaswamy’s vehicle and fled the scene. Our investigation has revealed no evidence to substantiate that information,” the department said.
It added that the driver, identified as Celia Meagher, “said she was not in the area to protest, did not know who the vehicle she struck belonged to, [and] she did not intentionally back into the vehicle” – claims highly at odds with Ramaswamy’s own account.
Meagher and her passenger later told a local news outlet that they were “completely unaffiliated” with those protesting Ramaswamy’s campaign stop, and denied allegations that they fled the scene following the collision.
Nobody was injured in the fender-bender, with only minor damage to both vehicles, and police said Meagher was issued a traffic summons for unsafe backing after the mishap.
October 06, 2023 at 11:07AM