New York Representative Jamaal Bowman has come under criticism after The Daily Beast reported that he promoted conspiracy theories regarding the 9/11 attacks on his personal blog back in 2011.
At the time, Bowman was serving as the principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, and his online journal included a section titled "Recapitulate" in which he discussed controversial theories surrounding the collapse of Building 7 on 9/11. These include the idea that it was a controlled demolition and cited films such as "Loose Change" and "Zeitgeist," which both offered conspiratorial explanations for the attacks.
Upon the publication of the article, Representative Bowman issued a statement on Monday addressing the controversy. He stated, "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."
He went on to say that he does not believe in any of the theories mentioned and that his work as a congressman has proven this. He also acknowledged that he regrets posting about these individuals and has since learned how misinformation can spread.
In addition to the controversy surrounding his past statements, Bowman's statement comes just weeks after he was censured by the House of Representatives for his actions on September 30. On that day, as Democrats tried to delay voting on a Republican stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a House office building.
The incident was caught on surveillance video, which the Office of Congressional Ethics obtained, and showed Bowman deliberately pulling the lever without looking back to see if it facilitated the opening of emergency doors. The Ethics report also noted that there was evidence contradicting Bowman's claim that he had "mistakenly" activated the alarm, as he claimed in a statement following the incident.
Following the ethics report and the censure, there were mounting calls for the Department of Justice to investigate Bowman for his actions. In response, Bowman sought to "personally clear up confusion" and extinguish the controversy. However, the release of the ethics report and the resurfacing of his past blog posts have only added fuel to the fire. Many are now calling for a further investigation into Bowman's actions as well as his past statements.
Some believe that Bowman's promotion of these conspiracy theories is just another example of the ongoing issue of misinformation and its widespread effects. It also raises questions about the vetting process for elected officials and how their past actions and statements are reviewed before taking office. Others are concerned about Bowman's fitness for office, especially given his recent censure and the apparent evidence contradicting his statements.
In response to these concerns, Representative Bowman has stood by his actions and statements, stating that his life's work has proven his stance against these theories. He also pointed to his work as a congressman, including a Congressional Resolution condemning dangerous conspiracy theories and standing up to MAGA extremists. He called out the far-right and stated, "Anyone who looks at my work today knows where I stand."
As the controversy surrounding Representative Bowman continues to unfold, there are sure to be further calls for investigations into his actions and for more transparency regarding his past statements. This incident also highlights the responsibility of elected officials to carefully consider their words and actions, as well as the importance of accurate information in our society.