Gov. Tim Walz is under fire for accepting the endorsement of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who has promoted conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Walz called it an “honor” to be endorsed by the former one-term governor and thanked him for “taking the unprecedented step” of supporting his campaign.
What an honor! Thrilled to be endorsed by @GovJVentura.
I'm committed to being a governor for all Minnesotans, and I’ll work with anyone who’s willing to work with me to get things done.
Thank you, Jesse, for taking the unprecedented step to cast your independent vote for me! pic.twitter.com/QABgPjFNX9
— Tim Walz (@Tim_Walz) October 27, 2022
“I can’t stand with anyone or any party who cannot condemn the Jan. 6 insurrection,” Ventura said in his endorsement. “And now, women’s rights are under attack across this country.”
Minnesota GOP Chairman David Hann, a Vietnam veteran like Ventura, said he was “appalled” that the governor would “seek and tout the endorsement of such a discredited conspiracy theorist.”
“Jesse Ventura claimed 9/11 was caused by the government and that all of our country’s wars were started under false pretenses. This endorsement is an embarrassment and shows that Walz is losing and desperate for support. Tim Walz owes every military family and those of 9/11 victims an apology,” Hann said.
After leaving office in 2003, Ventura repeatedly spread conspiracies about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a 2012 CNN interview, he argued that the Bush administration “wanted it to happen” because they “ignored” warning signs from the intelligence community.
“Every war fought starts with a false flag operation,” he said. “I have a tape of a BBC reporter broadcasting directly back to England talking about [how] a third building has collapsed, World Trade Center building seven … All the while she’s talking, World Trade Center building seven is still standing right behind her. It didn’t fall for another half hour.”
In 2008, on the anniversary of 9/11, he called the government’s narrative surrounding the events of that day “far-fetched.”
“The government’s theory is that 19 Islamic terrorists armed with box cutters defeated our multibillion-dollar air defense system, all while conspiring with a bearded guy in a cave in Afghanistan,” he said. “I find that far-fetched.”
According to an archived 2008 Associated Press article, Ventura said he regretted not using the platform of the governor’s office to ask more questions about the attack. In an interview with Alex Jones, the article claims, Ventura said the collapse of the Twin Towers appeared to him “exactly like the controlled demolition of a Las Vegas hotel.”
Ventura went on to host a show called “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.” In one episode, he dug up evidence “that the September 11th attacks were an inside job,” according to an IMDb description of the episode.
An excerpt from one of his books published by Today in 2010 has the former governor saying the Bush administration “either knew about the plan and allowed it to proceed, or they had a hand in it themselves.”
In another episode of his show, Ventura worked to “prove the existence of so-called FEMA camps — ‘concentration camps’ to be used as part of a U.S. government plot to round up and imprison millions of Americans so that unnamed ‘elites’ can establish a dictatorship.”
Ventura visited Google’s headquarters in 2011 to discuss another book he wrote.
“I believe in many instances in this book you could substitute the word ‘Nazi’ and it works. There’s behavior in this book that … you’d expect it from the Nazis. But it isn’t the Nazis, it’s us. It’s our country,” he said.
Hann also criticized Ventura’s former role as a host on a Russian state TV network.
The Ventura endorsement came just a day after former President Donald Trump threw his support behind Walz’s opponent, Dr. Scott Jensen.
“Minnesota will not be divided by dangerous conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric,” Walz said in response.
Ventura addressed the Minnesota GOP’s criticisms on Twitter Thursday night, saying: “This is rich coming from a party whose entire political platform is based on conspiracy theories.”
Walz was asked by an MPR reporter how he squares the Ventura endorsement with his party’s relentless criticism of Jensen as a “dangerous conspiracy theorist.”
“Well I think the biggest thing about this [was] Gov. Ventura has done the job,” he said. “I think his focus and mine were on the leadership and the times and whether it was COVID, dealing with COVID. And I think he’s, like I am, deeply disappointed in the Jan. 6 folks.”
“Certainly glad to have it,” Walz concluded.