During the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager Vivek Ramaswamy spread a number of discredited conspiracy theories, including one falsely purporting that the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, was an “inside job” by government leaders loyal to Democrats.
Ramaswamy, who was criticized by other candidates on the debate stage as being an “obnoxious blowhard,” rattled off several false claims in defense of former President Donald Trump, who is also running for president next year; although Trump is leading other Republicans in the polls by wide margins, he has yet to appear at any of the GOP-sponsored debates.
“If you want somebody who is going to speak truth to power, then vote for somebody who’s going to speak the truth to you,” said 38-year-old Ramaswamy.
He then launched into a tirade of false, far right fantasies, drawing applause from the Republican audience members who attended the event.
“Why am I the only person, on the stage at least, who can say that January 6 now does look like it was an inside job?” Ramaswamy asked.
Many far right commentators have wrongly contended that supposed “deep state” government actors initiated the attack on the U.S. Capitol building, thereby motivating Trump loyalists to join in, or that the attack was a “false flag” event entirely orchestrated by government actors. Those claims are false, and many of the people who have been charged by the Justice Department for their violent actions that day say they were motivated by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric in the moments before they attacked.
Ramaswamy also discussed “Great Replacement Theory,” alleging that it was “not some grand right-wing conspiracy theory, but a basic statement of the Democratic Party’s platform.”
That theory alleges that global elitists — who are often portrayed as Jewish — are implementing a plan to migrate people of color around the world to traditionally white-majority countries to diminish the latter group’s power and threaten their existence. The racist and antisemitic conspiracy theory is frequently invoked by white supremacists, and has been cited by mass shooters in their manifestos explaining why they targeted people of color.
Ramaswamy doubled down on his false claims about the theory, reposting social media commentary from noted neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes, who praised the presidential candidate for discussing the topic. In his reaction video to Ramaswamy’s comments, Fuentes’s jaw drops at the mention of the theory and he says, “Let’s go!”
Others on social media blasted Ramaswamy for making the conspiracy theory more mainstream.
“Black, Latino and Jewish people were murdered here in the US because of this dangerous conspiracy theory. Vivek Ramaswamy is a bigot and unfit to be President of the United States,” Joel Rubin, a former State Department official in the Obama administration and a candidate for Congress in 2024, said in a post on X.
“Vivek Ramaswamy just falsely claimed that January 6 was an inside job and the Great Replacement theory (which has been cited verbatim in multiple white supremacist terrorist manifestos) is valid,” said journalist Ahmed Baba. “Just absolute, irresponsible depravity.”
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