Top Sanders Surrogate Appears to Parrot 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

January 28, 2020

A top surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presidential campaign appears to have argued the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Phillip Agnew, a self-described "militant" who has made multiple appearances on the campaign trail for Sanders since joining the campaign in July, tweeted on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that America remembers the day "she turned on herself, dismantled her constitution, and killed her own citizens in the name of money."

Sanders, who is leading the Democratic primary race in several national polls and in crucial early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, has a bevy of campaign staffers and surrogates who have expressed both controversial and bigoted views. A Free Beacon report exposing a series of vulgar social media posts forced the campaign to fire their deputy director of constituency organizing Darius Khalil Gordon in December.

Agnew expressed a different view of the Sept. 11 attacks in a 2016 Instagram post, sharing a cartoon that suggests America's interventionist foreign policy prompted the al Qaeda attacks, which left 2,977 people dead.

Agnew's caption said, "#neverforget what goes round come round."


Since joining the campaign, Agnew has spoken alongside other high-profile Sanders surrogates such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Michael Moore at a recent campaign event in Iowa. The Sanders campaign promoted a clip of Agnew speaking at a rally and described it as "powerful."

He also introduced Sanders at a November campaign rally in Los Angeles. He appeared on The 99, an online show the Sanders campaign produces. Agnew also led a phone bank event for Sanders. Sanders appeared alongside Agnew at a discussion with young voters about health care, college affordability, and criminal justice reform. The campaign also reimbursed Agnew $250 for travel expenses in September.

Sanders's national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray praised Agnew for his politics and called him an "absolute delight."

The Sanders campaign did not respond to requests for comment. Attempts to reach Agnew for comment were unsuccessful.

Agnew, who also goes by Umi Selah, is the cofounder of the Florida liberal activist group Dream Defenders, which boasts anti-Israel activist and fellow Sanders surrogate Linda Sarsour as a board member. The organization advocates for far-left causes such as the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and the idea that every person has a right to a home, clothes, food, and job provided by the government. Agnew visited the White House in 2014 where he met with President Barack Obama to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement.

Agnew joins a growing list of controversial and anti-Israel figures in the Sanders campaign including Sarsour and the left-wing activist Shaun King, who accused an innocent man of murder and praised a domestic terrorist who attacked a federal immigration facility.