GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy faces criticism after suggesting ‘truth about 9/11’ is still unknown during interview but claims his quotes were taken ‘out of context’

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has been heavily criticized for suggesting that US federal agents may have been on the planes involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old upstart millennial candidate who is seeking high office in 2024, suddenly veered towards the controversial conversation after discussing the January 6 insurrection in an interview. 

He said he questioned the US government’s reporting on the number of federal agents who were involved in the attack, telling The Atlantic’s John Hendrickson: ‘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.

Vivek Ramaswamy (pictured), the 38-year-old upstart millennial Republican, suddenly veered towards the controversial conversation after discussing the January 6 insurrection

‘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.’

He appeared to suggest that the US government had not been entirely truthful about the events surrounding the terrorist attack. 

Transcript of Ramaswamy’s conversation with the Atlantic’s John Hendrickson

Hendrickson: I think it’s interesting to compare and contrast 9/11 and January 6.

Ramaswamy: Oh, yeah. I don’t think they belong in the same conversation. I’m only bringing it up because it was … I am not making the comparison. I think it’s a ridiculous comparison—

Hendrickson: I’m not comparing—

Ramaswamy: But I’m saying that I brought it up only because it was invoked as a basis for the Jan. 6 commission.

Hendrickson: Of course. What I’m saying, though, is that I think Democrats and Republicans would agree that 9/11 is a day that’s like Pearl Harbor day, where there are good guys and bad guys and America was attacked. I mean, I think that’s very clear—

Ramaswamy: I mean, I would take the truth about 9/11. I mean, I am not questioning what we—this is not something I’m staking anything out on. But I want the truth about 9/11.

‘I mean, I would take the truth about 9/11. I am not questioning what we – this is not something I’m staking anything out on. But I want the truth about 9/11.’

He said in the interview that he brought up the attacks ‘only because it was invoked as a basis for the January 6 commission.’

‘Well, if we’re doing a January 6 commission, absolutely, those should be questions that we should get to the bottom of.

‘What percentage of the people who were armed were federal law-enforcement officers? I think it was probably high, actually,’ Ramaswamy said. 

In 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unsuccessfully tried to create a ‘9/11-style commission’ that would investigate how and why the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington DC took place. 

Shortly after the interview was published, he tried rowing back on his comments. 

He told CNN that he was misquoted by the Atlantic, but seemingly doubled down on the conspiracy talk: ‘The truth is there are lies the government has told about 9/11, but it’s not the ones that somebody put in my mouth. 

‘It’s the one that I articulated, which is that Saudi Arabia, absolutely their intelligence was involved in 9/11.’

Shortly after the interview, Ramaswamy drew condemnation from allies and foes alike. 

The group Republicans Against Trump said: ‘What does it say about today’s Republican party that this 9/11 truther, pro-Putin candidate is the young rising star of the party?’

Meanwhile, Scott English, a former Republican aide, said: ‘I get that Ramaswamy was 16 when 9/11 happened, but Saudi involvement was pretty well known when we passed the Homeland Security Act when he was 17.’

This isn’t the first time Ramaswamy has espoused questionable views about the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil. 

The candidates taking part in tonight’s Republican primary debate

Florida governor Ron DeSantis

South Carolina senator Tim Scott

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy

Former vice president Mike Pence

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie

North Dakota governor Doug Burgum

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson 

Eight Republicans will go head to head tonight in the first primary debate

Eight Republicans will go head to head tonight in the first primary debate

He said in a lengthy tweet on August 9: ‘I do not believe everything the government has told us about that day

‘There is no credible evidence that 9/11 was an “inside job”, but ironically when the government systematically lies about Saudi involvement and the media runs interference, that lends plausibility to an otherwise nonsensical claim.’

The comments in the Atlantic come as eight candidates, including Ramaswamy, are set to duke it out in the first Republican primary debate of the 2024 presidential race tonight. 

The debate, which will be hosted by Fox across several of its platforms, will take place at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is set to be a battleground state, and will also host the Republican National Convention next year.  

Notably, Donald Trump will not be making an appearance, citing his polls lead over his rivals, though he will be airing a prerecorded interview with Tucker Carlson at the same time as the debate. 

Aggregated poll data from FiveThirtyEight shows that Donald Trump has consistently been miles ahead of his fellow candidates. 

The former president currently has 52.5% of Republican voters in his camp, while his closest rival, Ron DeSantis, has just 14.5% of Republican votes. 

No other Republican candidate is currently breaching the 10% mark. 

Over in the Democrats’ camp, Joe Biden has a huge lead over his only other rival, Robert F. Kennedy. 

As of Tuesday, Biden commands 65.1% of Democrat votes, while Kennedy holds just 12.9%.