In a startling statement today, Republican candidate for governor Debra Medina refused to disavow the allegation that the U.S. government was somehow involved in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers on 9/11.
Medina made the statement during an interview on the Glenn Beck radio program.
(Glenn Beck) Right, here's, then let me be more frank and ask you the question. Do you believe the government was any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?
(Debra Medina) I don't have all of the evidence there Glenn, so I don't, I'm not in a place, I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there so I have not taken a position on that.
Medina, who espouses a Tea Party sovereign Texas message, has been surging in the polls.
The 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks did not find evidence of complicity by the U.S. government.
Gov. Rick Perry condemned Medina's remarks on Thursday.
"Today's comments were an insult to the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11 and the military men and women who are overseas protecting our country. President Bush worked tirelessly to protect our nation from additional terrorist attacks and anyone who would suggest 9/11 is a conspiracy involving the Bush administration should be ashamed," he said in a statement.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican candidate for governor,said in a statement: “I know exactly who was responsible for the horrific attacks on September 11th – Al Qaeda terrorists who declared war on America. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the men and women who are sacrificing their lives to root out the terrorists in Afghanistan and around globe. Ever since that tragic day, I have fought tirelessly to ensure that we hunted down the Islamic extremists who target our nation. No one stood closer to President Bush and Vice President Cheney in their efforts to defeat the terrorist threat to our freedom.”
Medina also issued a statement following the show. She said:
"I was asked a question on the Glenn Beck show today regarding my thoughts on the so-called 9/11 Truth movement. I have never been involved with the 9/11 truth movement, and there is no doubt in my mind that Muslim terrorists flew planes into those buildings on 9/11. I have not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals in any way. No one can deny that the events on 9/11 were a tragedy for all Americans and especially those families who lost loved ones."
She went on to say: "The question surprised me because it's not relevant to this race or the issues facing Texans. This campaign has always been about private property rights and state sovereignty. It is focused on the issues facing Texans. It is not a vehicle for the 9/11 truth movement or any other group."
The former director of FEMA, Joe M. Allbaugh, described Medina's comments as "nuts."
He said in a statement: "It is not unusual for a politician to revise her position on taxes or spending issues, but on whom is responsible for 9/11, one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the United States?
"As head of the lead federal agency in charge of recovery at the site in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, P.A., and who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of courageous first responders and volunteers in government and private life, I believe it is disgusting and shameful that Ms. Medina would suggest that there are legitimate questions yet to be answered on whom is responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
"In her revised statement, Ms. Medina is suggesting that she is sensitive to the rights of individuals who question whether or not the U.S. government had a role in masterminding the attack. She says there are legitimate questions that need to be answered.
"Ms. Medina, if you really believe that there are legitimate questions yet to be answered about whether the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 attacks, in my opinion, you have no business running for Governor of Texas," he added.