Dark horse GOP presidential hopeful says rivals are 'reactionary, defensive' candidates

An entrepreneur and pastor serving in the West Virginia Senate, Rollan Roberts II is positioning himeslf as an outsider with mold-breaking ideas.

Published: March 16, 2023 12:52pm

Updated: March 19, 2023 12:44am

Dark horse GOP presidential hopeful Rollan Roberts II calls rival candidate Donald Trump and potential rival Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis "reactionary, defensive" candidates and says Republicans need new leadership. 

An entrepreneur and pastor serving in the West Virginia Senate, Roberts has founded different organizations, including Rollan College and Transform Africa, a foundation that provides entrepreneurial and educational opportunities to communities there. 

"I come from the entrepreneurial world," Roberts told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "There's just a world of difference between how we fundamentally think, from the way I think to the rest of the field, and we see this over and over, whether it's Trump or whether it's DeSantis — they're all reactionary, defensive candidates, and we need visionary leadership."

Roberts announced his run for president in January, saying he would bring disciplined and principled leadership to the White House. 

"I am running for president, not to take us backwards to the way things used to be, and not to reset humanity to some ideology," Roberts said in a press conference announcing his campaign. "But through principled and disciplined leadership — sound wisdom grounded in truth, and with respect for all people — to lead America in solving the great issues of our day in a way that lays the foundation for our leadership and excellence in the 22nd century."

While touting his international business experience as an invaluable asset in a would-be world leader, Roberts is positioning himeslf as an outsider with mold-breaking ideas.

"They're all of the same ideology and come from the same schools and come from the same cloth," he said of his GOP primary rivals. "They're all former politicians."

Noting that partisanship sows division, Roberts vowed instead to be a unifier. 

"We've been so evenly split in America that literally creating hate and fear about your next door neighbor I don't think is a winning strategy," he said. "I will be a president for all."

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