WATCH: Vivek Ramaswamy Defends Comments About Israel and 9/11

GOP presidential hopeful tells Fox he didn't say 'things that I've said supposedly' about Israel

August 23, 2023

Ahead of Wednesday's GOP primary debate, Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy defended his confusing comments about U.S. aid to Israel and about 9/11.

"You weren't saying that Israel should be treated exactly the same as every other country in the Middle East?" Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Ramaswamy on Tuesday.

"No! Zero!" Ramaswamy answered, telling MacCallum that he didn't actually say "things that I've said supposedly on the Russell Brand podcast."

Ramaswamy has repeatedly flip-flopped on the question of aid to Israel. He told a voter in June that he was "open to cutting Israel off from foreign aid" but later said that answer was a misunderstanding.

The candidate then appeared this month on Brand's podcast and said he "supports cutting the U.S. military funding to Israel—which accounts for about $3 billion a year—by 2028," the Washington Free Beacon reported. He reiterated that position in comments to the Free Beacon.

GOP leaders, including Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matthew Brooks and presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, have strongly criticized that position.

Ramaswamy's response to MacCallum and criticism of what he called "non-quotes that are attributed to me" from the Brand podcast appear to indicate that he now backs aid once again.

In addition to his shifting position on aid, Ramaswamy has stoked controversy with comments that seemed to endorse 9/11 conspiracy theories. He told the Atlantic that asking "how many police, how many federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers" is a "legitimate" question and told CNN that the 9/11 Commission "lied."

MacCallum asked Ramaswamy if he thought "there were federal agents on planes … on September 11 who were part of the attack."

"Of course not," the candidate answered, saying the Atlantic interviewer had brought up 9/11 while asking Ramaswamy about federal agents involved in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.