Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy portrayed himself as a truth-teller during the fourth presidential primary debate in Alabama.
“If you want somebody who’s gonna speak truth to power, then vote for somebody who’s gonna speak the truth to you,” he said Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa. But he followed that statement with false claims and a conspiracy theory.
“Why am I the only person on the stage at least who can say that Jan. 6 now does look like it was an inside job,” he said. Ramaswamy then listed a heap of questionable, misleading and wrong comments, including that the 2020 election was “stolen by Big Tech.”
The Jan. 6 claim is extraordinarily egregious.
Numerous investigations have found the U.S. Capitol attack was orchestrated and executed by people who supported Donald Trump’s presidency and believed or pushed false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Although evidence shows FBI informants were at the Capitol that day, none shows the FBI or its informants instigated the violence that followed.
Evidence from court documents shows, person by person, who ransacked the Capitol and fought with police officers. The rioters’ goal was preventing Congress from accepting the results of the election showing that Trump had lost. Officials have charged more than 1,200 defendants, more than two-thirds of whom have pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial so far.
In 17 key findings, the House committee investigating the attack determined Trump himself disseminated false allegations about the election and summoned supporters to the Capitol and directed them to “take back” the country.
We contacted a Ramaswamy’s campaign spokesperson on debate night and did not immediately hear back.
The public record for hundreds of defendants shows that many considered their actions patriotic; they believed they were on the front lines of a revolution or civil war. Rioters scaled walls, broke windows, forced their way into the building and clashed with police.
Among people sentenced for seditious conspiracy are multiple members of far-right groups including the Proud Boys extremist group and militia groups including the Oath Keepers.
How we’ve fact-checked similar claims
Similar claims about Jan. 6 being a “false flag” took off in the months after the insurrection following a blog post by Revolver News, a right-leaning website run by a former Trump White House speechwriter who was fired in 2018 after appearing on a discussion panel with a white nationalist.
The website’s unproven theory focused on charging documents and that the FBI had used informants and undercover operatives to foil an extremist plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
A cursory look showed the theory was rife with holes, inaccuracies and circumstantial speculation, which was amplified by multiple pundits and politicians. PolitiFact rated the claim that federal agents directly incited people as False.
In late November, PolitiFact examined a claim by U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., about “ghost buses” carrying undercover FBI agents to the Capitol that day. We rated the unsupported claim False, with experts telling us they were unfamiliar with the term “ghost bus” and that there are reasons the FBI would not bus a group of informants to an event.
PolitiFact named claims that downplay the violence about the Jan. 6 attack its 2021 Lie of the Year.
Ramaswamy said, “Jan. 6 now does look like it was an inside job.”
Numerous investigations into what happened Jan. 6, 2021, including by a congressional committee, have found the U.S. Capitol attack was orchestrated and executed by people who supported Donald Trump’s presidency and believed or pushed false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Extensive court records involving more than 1,200 defendants also back this up.
The onus is on Ramaswamy to back up his statement with evidence, and he has failed to do that.
We rate this statement Pants on Fire!
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