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The GOP candidate for Maryland Attorney General has promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories.

The Republican governor of Maryland condemned his party’s candidate for state attorney general over the weekend for previously promoting a conspiracy theory about the 9/11 attacks. The governor slammed the GOP leadership two weeks after his constituents chose far-right candidates for the state’s top offices.

“Blaming our country for al-Qaeda’s atrocities is an insult to the memory of the thousands of innocent Americans and brave first responders who died that day,” Governor Larry Hogan said. wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “These disgusting lies do not belong to our party.”

The candidate, Michael Anthony Peroutka, suggested on a radio show he co-hosted in 2006 that controlled demolitions brought down the World Trade Center, a conspiracy theory completely debunked. CNN reported his remarks on Sunday.

“If the buildings in New York, the buildings of the World Trade Center, came down on demolition charges – that is, if there was this evidence that there was, that something was preset there – so the implications of that are huge,” Peroutka says. “I have read and studied, and I believe this to be very, very true.”

He then wondered if there were “charges in every building” in New York, “ready to be shot whenever some elite bureaucrat decides they’re going to take it down.”

The resurfaced comments drew condemnation from Mr. Peroutka’s Democratic opponent, Representative Anthony G. Brown, who said in a Tweeter“Pushing ridiculous and debunked conspiracy theories is shameful and disqualifying.”

Mr. Peroutka, who has also previously spoken out against public education and the separation of church and state, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican who is popular in Maryland but cannot run for reelection due to term limits, has been a rare insider voice against the GOP’s rightward shift. He endorsed a protege, Kelly Schulz, to replace him as governor, but Ms. Schulz lost the Republican primary to Dan Cox, a Trump-endorsed state lawmaker.

Mr Cox denies the legitimacy of the 2020 election, has links to the QAnon conspiracy theory and has campaigned on Christian nationalist positions. Mr Hogan, whose spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said he would not support him in the general election.

Mr. Hogan is virtually ceding his post to a Democratic successor; the Democratic candidate, Wes Moore, author and former nonprofit executive, is heavily favored against Mr. Cox.

Even before Mr. Hogan condemned Mr. Peroutka’s remarks, Mr. Brown was due to succeed Brian Frosh, another Democrat, as attorney general. Maryland, which is reliably Democratic in federal elections, has historically been receptive to moderate Republicans like Mr. Hogan for state office, but not to those more right-wing.

Mr Peroutka, former Anne Arundel County Council Chairman and 2004 Constitution Party presidential candidate, was once affiliated with the neo-Confederate organization Southern League and promoted extreme views.

In an opinion piece published in 2014, he called the separation of church and state a “big lie”. In a council debate that year, he said the First Amendment ban on establishing a religion was intended only to protect different Christian denominations, not “Mohammedanism or Islam”; denounced free public education as “the 10th pillar of the Communist Manifesto”; and ridiculed evolution. “Our children learn that their great-great-grandfather was a piece of primordial slime in a pond somewhere and their grandfather was a slimy thing that eventually sprouted legs after a million years and their father was a monkey,” he said in the debate.

Mr. Peroutka has focused his latest campaign on opposing lockdowns and pandemic mandates, despite Maryland ending its public restrictions more than a year ago.


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