Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) called out Republican rival J.D. Vance for saying conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was a credible source of information and then lying about it during Monday night’s combative debate between the two U.S. Senate candidates.
Ryan noted that Vance, who won the GOP primary with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, had been supportive of the conspiracy theorist. Jones was recently ordered to pay nearly $1 billion to family members of the people killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting for claiming the Connecticut massacre was fake.
“We are running for the United States Senate. This is the highest office you could get in this country except for president,” Ryan said. “And he’s running around backing these extremists. The most extreme people in the country. A guy who denied Sandy Hook. He’s like, ‘No, he’s credible.’”
Vance insisted: “This is a complete fabrication. I never said that.”
“You’re on tape, man,” Ryan shot back. “It’ll be like 30 minutes and we’re all going to know you’re lying.”
Sure enough, video shows Vance defending Jones, after he tweeted in September that “Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
In the video, referring to that tweet, Vance said: “People are terrified of unconventional people, of people who don’t think the thoughts that they’re supposed to think. And that to me, is like the opposite of what you would want in an elite. You would want an elite that’s willing to think outside the box, that’s willing to say, well, maybe this is like a crazy idea, but maybe it’s true.”