(RepublicanJournal.org) – Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy is in damage control mode after appearing to blame the federal government for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In an interview published just days before the first Republican debate, he asked how many federal agents were involved in the 2001 atrocity. Now he’s trying to back out of what he said without actually giving a clear statement.
What Did He Say?
In late July, Ramaswamy spoke to The Atlantic, but the interview wasn’t published until August 21 — and it sparked instant controversy. During his discussion with the magazine, he said he wanted to know, “How many police, how many federal agents were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers?” He added that the answer “probably is zero,” but said it’s something the public should be told.
Ramaswamy made the comments during a discussion about the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, but his choice of words was unfortunate, to say the least. He quickly came under fire from across the political spectrum for appearing to support conspiracy theories. Former Fox host Megyn Kelly accused him of “playing footsie with 9/11 trutherism” while columnist Charles P. Pierce said the comments were enough to disqualify him from becoming president.
What’s He Saying Now?
Since the interview was published — and the criticism started — Ramaswamy has been desperately trying to salvage his reputation. Later the same day, he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins he was talking about the January 6 riots when he discussed how many federal agents were involved. However, that claim doesn’t really hold water because he specifically mentioned planes hitting the Twin Towers, and not even the fiercest critics of former president Donald Trump are claiming his supporters flew planes into anything on January 6. It’s clear Ramaswamy was talking about 9/11 when he referred to federal agents on planes.
His next line of attack was to claim he’d been misquoted. He told news website Semafor that the problematic quote wasn’t what he’d actually said. The Atlantic quickly responded that it had quoted him accurately — and then released a recording of the interview, confirming that it had.
This really isn’t what Ramaswamy needs at this stage in his campaign. For a Republican nominee to win next November, they need to appeal to moderate voters — and moderates aren’t going to elect a 9/11 truther. It’s true that the discussion was about the January 6 riots, but it’s also clear Ramaswamy brought up the subject of 9/11 and implied the US government was involved. Now he needs to be very clear about what he really believes about that, and so far, his evasive denials aren’t setting the record straight.
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