Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy promoted the right-wing claim that the Jan. 6 Capitol following former President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020 was an inside job perpetrated by federal agents.
During a CNN Town Hall Wednesday night, the 38-year-old entrepreneur said that three years ago, “if you had told me that January 6 was in any way an inside job, the subject of government entrapment, I would have told that was crazy talk, fringe conspiracy nonsense.”
“I can tell you now having gone somewhat deep in this, it’s not,” he said, echoing comments he made that went viral at the fourth Republican debate earlier this month.
Jan. 6 being instigated by federal agents is a popular right-wing conspiracy theory that FBI Director Christopher Wray—who was appointed by Trump—has repeatedly pushed back against.
“This notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous and is a disservice to our brave, hardworking, dedicated men and women,” Wray told Congress in July.
Ramaswamy argued that the federal government systematically lied about COVID-19, Hunter Biden, and more and pointed to the kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).
Lawyers for defendants involved in the plot successfully argued they were entrapped by federal agents who targeted the men for their anti-government views.
CNN’s Abby Phillip tried to push back multiple times, arguing that there is “no evidence that there were federal agents in the crowd” on Jan. 6, although court documents have revealed some people were informants for the FBI during their time with the fringe groups that went to the Capitol.
Ramaswamy countered that the government cherry-picked video footage from that day and that “when pressed on what the number [of feds] was, they didn’t say there were none, they just couldn’t say how many there were?”
The pair began talking over one another, with Phillip concluding: “I don’t want to have to interrupt you, I really don’t. But I don’t want you to mislead the audience here or at home.”
The interaction quickly drew backlash from Ramaswamy’s supporters.
Ramaswamy “just owned the very rude, and non stop interrupting Abby Phillip, and made her rethink her entire career,” posted one user on X.
“Vivek Ramaswamy shuts down CNN’s Abby Phillip as she tries interrupting him for 3 minutes straight while he calls out the government for framing J6ers.she is super annoying!” wrote another person.
“Vivek dismantled CNN’s Abby Phillip. Despite her panicked, nonstop interruptions,” someone else said. “And, importantly, the audience was listening. And clapping.”
Ramaswamy posted on X after the town hall, “Too bad for CNN, we’ll take the TRUTH on Jan. 6 mainstream.”
“The FBI won’t admit how many undercover officers were in the field on Jan 6, Capitol police on one hand fired rubber bullets & explosives into a peaceful crowd who they then willingly later allowed to enter the Capitol,” he added. “That doesn’t add up & the actual evidence turns the prior narrative upside down: if the deep state is willing to manufacture an ‘insurrection’ to take down its political opponents, they can do anything.”
Ramaswamy, a political newcomer, is polling in fourth place at an average 4.9% nationwide for the Republican presidential primary, though he’s drawn attention for a number of his takes.