Aug 21, 2023, 9:51pm EDT

The “just asking questions” candidate cleans up more 9/11 remarks

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The News

Vivek Ramaswamy got his 5,000-word Atlantic profile Tuesday, but one passage raised eyebrows around Washington — the one where “suddenly, he was talking about 9/11.”

From the piece:

“I think it is legitimate to say how many police, how many federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers. Maybe the answer is zero. It probably is zero for all I know, right? I have no reason to think it was anything other than zero. But if we’re doing a comprehensive assessment of what happened on 9/11, we have a 9/11 commission, absolutely that should be an answer the public knows the answer to. Well, if we’re doing a January 6 commission, absolutely, those should be questions that we should get to the bottom of,” he said. ‘‘Here are the people who were armed. Here are the people who are unarmed.’ What percentage of the people who were armed were federal law-enforcement officers? I think it was probably high, actually. Right?’

The Atlantic’s John Hendrickson writes that when pressed, “the bold teller of truths was just asking questions.“ And that 9/11, Ramaswamy said, isn’t “something I’m staking anything out on.”

It’s the second 9/11-related flap for Ramaswamy, who earlier this year entertained an interviewer’s question about whether the attacks were an “inside job” before telling Semafor that he was actually referring to questions about the Saudis’ role in the attacks.

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The View From Vivek Ramaswamy

So what did Ramaswamy mean by wondering “how many federal agents were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers?” The 38-year-old — who was in high school during the terrorist attacks — first told Semafor in a text message that he “was referring to Jan. 6, not 9/11.”

“It was a very free flowing conversation, so I’m not blaming the reporter — but the real question I have about undercover federal agents is on Jan. 6, 2021, not 9/11,” Ramaswamy wrote, adding that he was surprised to see that quote printed.

When pressed further about what the reference to the Twin Towers and planes was supposed to be — and what the broader 9/11 reference meant — Ramaswamy said in a brief call that the quote in The Atlantic wasn’t “exactly what I said.” He reiterated that the conversation was “free-flowing” and ranged “from government lies surrounding 9/11 to January 6.” Ramaswamy added that he does “believe the government is lying about the number of federal agents who were in the field on January 6.”

“I stand by the spirit of it, but it turns out that’s not exactly what I told the guy,” Ramaswamy said. (Anna Bross, the SVP of communications for The Atlantic, said the quotes are accurate. “Their interview was recorded and fact-checked,” she said.)