Longshot Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has a lot of questions about who was responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks, saying there were “strange things that happened” during the collapse of the World Trade Center and that he’s not sure he buys the “official explanation.”
Kennedy’s open skepticism about 9/11 hardly comes as a surprise at this point. The anti-vaccine activist has recently made headlines for embracing wild conspiracy theories under the guise of questioning narratives, whether it’s wondering if the CIA was responsible for his father’s assassination or if COVID-19 was ethnically engineered to spare Jewish and Chinese people.
During a wide-ranging podcast interview with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, Kennedy eventually brought up 9/11, prompting Bergen to ask whether the presidential hopeful bought the bipartisan 9/11 commission’s conclusion that al-Qaeda attacked the United States.
“I don’t know what happened on 9/11,” Kennedy hedged. “I mean, I understand what the official explanation is, I understand that there is dissent. I have not looked into it. I haven’t examined it. I’m not a good person to talk to about it.”
A veteran reporter who landed the first TV interview with Osama bin Laden, Bergen wondered if there was “doubt” in Kennedy’s mind that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks.
“I know there’s strange things that happened that don’t seem—,” Kennedy replied, prompting Bergen to ask what “strange things” he was talking about.
“Well, one of the buildings came down that wasn’t hit by a plane, so, you know, was it Building 7 or Building 10?” Kennedy retorted, invoking conspiracy theories that a controlled demolition destroyed 7 World Trade Center.
After Bergen argued that the building collapsed due to two of the world’s tallest skyscrapers coming down around it, Kennedy pushed back, calling Bergen’s explanation untrue.
“No, they didn’t collapse on top of it. My offices were down there,” he declared, adding: “There’s pictures of it collapsing. There’s nothing collapsing on top of it. I mean, I listen, I don’t want to argue any theories about this because all I’ve heard is questions. I have no explanation. I have no knowledge of it.”
During the broadcast of In the Room with Peter Bergen, a new weekly podcast from the CNN journalist, Bergen then adds an aside that he should “have been more precise” and noted to Kennedy that “the government’s official report found that Building 7 was hit with debris from the North Tower.” It was this impact that caused a fire that eventually led to the building’s destruction.
“There’s nothing ‘strange’ about it,” Bergen observed.
Kennedy, meanwhile, went on to say that while he doesn’t “endorse one way or the other” any theory about the building’s collapse, he does believe that it “ought to be permissible in this country to question official narratives.”
Agreeing wholeheartedly with Kennedy, Bergen then pointed out that he’s personally “spent three decades reporting on al-Qaeda” along with interviewing bin Laden. He added that when it came to looking into 9/11, the FBI conducted the largest criminal investigation in history, wondering why Kennedy was unwilling to accept the probe’s conclusions.
“Don’t tell me what I’m accepting or not, because I never said I don’t accept that,” Kennedy shot back.
“Okay, but what are you saying?” Bergen wondered.
“I’m saying I have no expertise in it,” Kennedy answered. “I haven’t read the data myself. And unfortunately for me, Peter, because it’s made my life kind of difficult. I don’t always accept official explanations.”
Following his sitdown with Kennedy, Bergen noted that Kennedy’s “extreme skepticism is going to make being president kinda tough,” especially “if your position is that the 9/11 Commission’s explanation of September 11th—which was based on the most comprehensive criminal investigation in the history of humankind— is somehow up for question.”
Kennedy isn’t the only presidential candidate who has played footsie with 9/11 conspiracy theories. Vivek Ramaswamy, the “anti-woke” biotech entrepreneur running for the Republican nomination, told The Atlantic last month that it was “legitimate” to ask “how many federal agents were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers” during the terror attacks.
Ramaswamy would later claim he was misquoted, only for the outlet to publish the audio of his remarks. The GOP candidate had previously suggested to a far-right outlet that 9/11 was an “inside job,” only to later walk back those comments.