Vivek Ramaswamy says he wants Elon Musk to be his presidential adviser

The Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has said that he wants Elon Musk as an adviser if he becomes president.

The billionaire biotech entrepreneur was in Newton, Iowa, campaigning at a town hall on Friday when he was asked about whom he would want as advisers for his potential presidency.

Ramaswamy said in response that he wanted people with a “blank fresh impression” who do not “come from within” the government.

Related: ‘He’s an insider’: Ramaswamy’s deep ties to rightwing kingpins revealed

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know better, Elon Musk recently, I expect him to be an interesting adviser of mine because he laid off 75% of the employees at Twitter,” NBC reports. “And then the effectiveness actually went up.”

In an earlier interview this month with Fox News, Ramaswamy said of the layoffs: “What [Musk] did at Twitter is a good example of what I want to do with the administrative state … Take out the 75% of the dead weight cost, improve the actual experience of what it’s supposed to do.”

Ramaswamy’s response on Friday also doubles down on comments he made in February: “Just as @elonmusk did at Twitter, as president I will release the ‘state action files’ from the federal government – exposing every instance where the feds pressured companies to take constitutionally prohibited actions. Roll that log over & see what crawls out. Won’t be pretty.”

Since Ramaswamy joined the campaign trail, he has attracted the attention and praise from Musk, who earlier this month said: “He is a very promising candidate.”

In response to another tweet in which Ramaswamy repeated his campaign values including “God is real,” “There are two genders,” “Human flourishing requires fossil fuels,” and “Reverse racism is racism,” Musk wrote: “He states his beliefs clearly.”

Despite Ramaswamy positioning himself as an “outsider” and accusing his opponents of being “bought and paid for” by various GOP donors, a recent Guardian investigation found that Ramaswamy has deep ties to influential figures on both ends of the political spectrum including Peter Thiel, a rightwing donor and co-founder of PayPal.

Ramaswamy’s other ties include Leonard Leo, a prominent rightwing activist currently under investigation in Washington DC over his efforts to install judges on federal courts including the supreme court.

Other investigations by ProPublica and Documented have reported that Ramaswamy has delivered speeches at events staged by Teneo, a group chaired by Leo that seeks to “crush liberal dominance” in American life.

Earlier this week, Ramaswamy’s campaign told the Associated Press that he had raised $450,000 in the first hours following the GOP primary debate on Wednesday night.

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