“I of course do not believe any of these conspiracies," the Democratic lawmaker asserted in a statement to PEOPLE, attributing the blog post to research he was doing for a potential doctorate degree
New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman says he regrets "posting anything about" 9/11 conspiracy theories after Daily Beast surfaced a troublesome blog post from when the congressman worked as a middle school principal.
In a statement sent to PEOPLE on Tuesday, the progressive Democrat claimed the controversial post in question was the result of research for a potential doctorate degree, saying, "Well over a decade ago, as I was debating diving into a doctoral degree, I explored a wide range of books, films, and articles across a wide swath of the political spectrum and processed my thoughts in a personal blog that few people ever read. Having since learned how misinformation spreads, I regret posting anything about any of these people."
He added, "As a Congressman, I’ve written a Congressional Resolution condemning a dangerous conspiracy theory, I’ve stood up to MAGA extremists, and I’ve called out the endless bulls--- of the far-right."
The Beast's report found that in 2011, Bowman posted free-verse poetry stoking skepticism about the terrorist attacks on his personal blog.
The poem's first stanza about 9/11 reads: "2001/Planes used as missiles/Target: The Twin Towers, Later in the day/Building 7/Also Collaspsed [sic]/Hmm.../Multiple explosions/Heard before/And during the collapse/Hmm..."
As the Beast notes, 7 World Trade Center — which collapsed hours after the Twin Towers — has been the subject of conspiracy theories suggesting it was destroyed in a controlled demolition, because it was not directly hit by a plane. A years-long investigation debunked the theory in 2008, concluding that Building 7 crumbled as the result of uncontrolled fires caused by falling debris.
Another line of the poem reads: "Allegedly/Two other planes/The Pentagon/Pennsylvania/Hijacked by terrorist [sic]/Minimal damage done/Minimal debris found/Hmm...”
The two other planes downed in the attacks — Flight 93 and Flight 77 — both resulted in the deaths of all passengers, with the one that struck the Pentagon also killing 125 people inside the building. Both planes left behind considerable debris.
And later in the poem, Bowman calls out a few people by name, writing, "Shout out to John Perkins/William Cooper/Michael Moore/Peter Joseph/And Adam Curtis."
Perkins is an author who's been criticized as a conspiracy theorist; as the Beast notes, Cooper was "a radio host and hero of the militia movement—and of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh"; Moore and Curtis are left-wing documentarians; and Joseph is the director of Zeitgeist, a conspiracy-laden film that pushes fantastical narratives about 9/11.
“I don’t believe anything that these cranks have said," Bowman asserted in his statement on Tuesday, "and my life’s work has proven that."
Bowman added that he "will always stand up and fight against misinformation and harmful conspiracy theories. I became an educator and a Congressman to ensure children in our community are equipped with the resources and tools to combat the same misinformation I saw years and years ago. I of course do not believe any of these conspiracy theories that are pushed by the same right-wing fanatics who have always been opposed to my candidacy and my presence in Congress.”
Bowman, who was elected to Congress in 2020, recently stirred controversy when he falsely set off a fire alarm at the U.S. Capitol during the final hours of government shutdown negotiations in September. In December, he was censured by the U.S. House of Representatives for doing so.
Critics were quick to suggest that he pulled the alarm — which set off an evacuation of the building — intentionally to delay the vote on shutdown negotiations, though Bowman insisted it was a mistake.
"Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open," Bowman said in a statement after the incident. "I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused."
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