How America's Leading Conspiracy Theorist Helped Launch Rand Paul's Career

Paul Told 9/11 Truth “Founding Father” Alex Jones He Couldn't Win Senate Race Without Him

A fringe right-wing radio host who believes the government was behind 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and several other catastrophes, has been a key figure in the political rise of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who will reportedly announce a run for president on April 7.

Paul has credited Alex Jones, who heads conspiracy website and an eponymous radio program, for being a vital part of his 2010 Senate campaign. Jones endorsed Paul, turned out followers to his events, and partnered with Paul for fundraising, at one point crashing his website. Since Paul's election to the Senate, Jones has continued to serve as a key Paul booster, including endorsing him for 2016. 

The fringe nature of Jones' program is apparent during the introduction of one of Jones' YouTube videos featuring Paul. The video begins with images of Nazi soldiers goose-stepping next to a Nazi flag-draped White House, and a poster claiming the government covered up 9/11. Such material is regular fodder for Jones, who is “one of the earliest and most influential 9/11 conspiracy theorists.”

Paul has been a longtime guest on The Alex Jones Show, originating from Jones' friendship with Rand's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Jones said last year he first interviewed Rand in 1996 and was “probably one of the first people to ever interview” him.

Jones hosted Paul several times during his 2010 Senate race, telling listeners that he “can't stress enough how important this race for the Kentucky Senate is.” Jones called Paul the “real McCoy” who will fight “against the New World Order" and “stop the thieving, stop the gang raping” in Washington. Jones said on his January 26, 2015, broadcast that he privately encouraged Paul to run for Senate.

Paul's alliance with Jones was an issue in his Senate race. The campaign of then-Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, Paul's Republican primary opponent, criticized Paul's connections to Jones. A group called Coalition for Kentucky Values ran an ad criticizing Paul's ties to Jones during the primary. 

After Paul was elected senator, Jones told him during a celebratory interview that the election was “a great victory for all lovers of liberty” and similar to George Washington's victory at the Battle of Trenton. In a 2012 interview, Jones told listeners that Paul “has actually been fulfilling his campaign promises” and is “refreshing,” uncompromising, and “amazing.”

Jones started encouraging Paul to run for president just weeks after he won his 2010 Senate race, calling him the second coming of Washington.

Paul has clearly been grateful for Jones' support and affection. During a 2009 appearance about his candidacy, he told Jones and his listeners, “we can't do it without you.” He described the radio host as one of the first people to give him “a fair shake” and “representation” in the political debate. And Paul said he hears from Jones fans “across the country and all across Kentucky.”

Jones and Paul pushed fringe conspiracy theories and rhetoric during Paul's appearances. Paul worried that “martial law” with “mandatory” vaccines could surface. Paul agreed with Jones that Democrats want to start a “shooting war” marked by ammunition confiscation. Paul predicted that an “army of armed EPA agents” would enforce climate regulations. He connected the Obama administration to Nazi Germany. And he promised Jones he would help him fight the “globalist agenda” and help expose a White House adviser's purported support for eugenics and forced drugs in the water supply.

Paul said Jones has influenced him, stating that he wouldn't join the Bilderberg Group -- a favorite target of New World Order conspiracy theories -- in part because he's “seen your videos” and he'd be “afraid” of Jones protesting him. Jones called Paul a “listener” to his show this year.

Paul appears to have stopped going on Jones' program after an April 2012 appearance. Jones said on his January 26 broadcast that he “could get Senator Paul back on the show -- quite frankly, it doesn't really even boost ratings, we can play clips of what he has to say. I just leave him alone, because in a way, I don't even like the fact that we're gonna to get a bunch of attention in the political season coming up, as they take stuff I've done out of context and try to project it onto Ron Paul and Rand Paul.” Jones added that Paul has “distanced himself a few degrees from his father and from this show.” 

Ron Paul, a likely campaign surrogate for his son, still regularly appears on the program. Jones continues to back Rand Paul for president, calling him “the best candidate across the board,” pushing back against attacks on Paul in the media, vouching for his authenticity, and defending his alleged moderation as just “playing politics.” His Infowars website trumpets Paul's political efforts.

Paul has had other problematic allies in the conservative media. He wrote the foreword to a book by Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano. Napolitano endorsed 9/11 conspiracy theories on Jones' program and is a “contrarian” and critic of President Abraham Lincoln, who he believes doesn't deserve to be “mythologized.” Pundit Jack Hunter (“The Southern Avenger”) was a Senate aide and co-author of Paul's 2011 book despite his history of “neo-Confederate” and “pro-secessionist” views. After criticism, Hunter resigned from Paul's staff. He has also employed pollster Fritz Wenzel, a birther who has called President Obama an “imposter,” and teamed up with conspiracy site WND to push dubious polling about the president's birth certificate.

In this report: 

Alex Jones Thinks The Government Was Behind 9/11, Oklahoma City, And The Boston Marathon Bombing

Alex Jones is America's leading conspiracy theorist. His biography states he “is considered one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement.”

Immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, by his own account, Jones “went on the air and said, 'Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.'” He believes that “the official story” of 9/11 is “a fable” and “the only explanation” for 9/11 is that it was an “inside job.” 

The Anti-Defamation League wrote that “Jones may currently well be the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the United States” and “reached prominence in the years after the 9/11 terror attacks, as he became one of the most energetic of the 'truthers,' the conspiracy theorists who believe that the 9/11 attacks were an 'inside job' by the U.S. government.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Jones is “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.”

In addition to his 9/11 conspiracies, Jones has promoted conspiracies about:

Oklahoma City Bombing. Jones has called the Oklahoma City bombing an “inside job” by the government designed to demonize conservatives.

Space Shuttle Columbia. Jones claimed that “globalists” were involved in the 2003 disaster, stating on his website: “I said that there was a very good chance that the globalists would do something horrible concerning the latest Colombia mission. Understand, the psychological warfare technicians do not even need to publicly blame Iraq for the Columbia disaster. It will serve as a distraction in the global press during the final weeks of war preparation in the gulf. It Will Serve The Dual Purpose Of Unifying The Country Behind President Bush as he grandstands.”

New World Order's Extermination Plans. Jones believes that a New World Order (NWO) of secretive global elites is working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government. A summary of the Jones film ENDGAME explains that the NWO plans to “exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the elites to live forever with the aid of advanced technology.”

Boston Marathon Bombing. Jones and his website have labeled the Boston Marathon bombing a “false flag cover-up” carried out by the government.

Aurora And Sandy Hook Shootings. In 2013, Jones said the two mass shootings were staged: “You saw them stage Fast and Furious. Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that's why I'm so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun, you know, getting up here telling you this. Somebody's got to tell you the truth.” 

2011 Tucson Shooting. After Jared Lee Loughner murdered six people, and wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Jones told Rolling Stone: “The whole thing stinks to high heaven ... This kid Loughner disappeared for days at a time before the shooting? My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media. They implanted the idea in his head by repeatedly asking, 'Is Giffords in danger?'”

Secret FEMA Camps. Jones sells a DVD titled, Police State 4: The Rise Of FEMA, which claims that “Jones conclusively proves the existence of a secret network of FEMA camps, now being expanded nationwide. The military-industrial complex is transforming our once free nation into a giant prison camp.”

“We Can't Do It Without You”: How Rand Paul Flattered Alex Jones         

Rand Paul has thanked and praised Alex Jones for his promotional and fundraising efforts. Here are several examples from Jones' interviews with Paul.

Paul: “We Can't Do It Without You.” After Jones said he was pushing his listeners to commit to him, Paul replied: “I appreciate that and we can't do it without you.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Paul: Jones Was One Of The First To Be “Fair” And Give Me “Representation.” Paul praised Jones during an interview, saying before his father ran for president, “our side other than you, Alex, and some of the people on talk radio, we really weren't getting a fair shake or getting any kind of representation as far as part of the debate, and now we are.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Paul Tells Jones He's “Seen Your Videos” About Bilderberg. The annual Bilderberg Meetings are “designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America.” Jones believes that Bilderberg is a conspiracy of global elites to create a dictatorship to enslave the world. Paul told Jones he wouldn't join Bilderberg for philosophical reasons and he'd be “afraid Alex Jones would be outside the meeting with the bullhorn, calling me out.” He added that he's “seen your videos calling a few of them out.” In 2010, a YouTube interviewer asked Paul what he knew about Bilderberg, and Paul replied: “Only what I've learned from Alex Jones.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Paul To Jones During Fundraising Pitch: “Your Listeners Shut Down My Website.” During one appearance, Paul told Jones: “Last time I was on your show, your listeners shut down my website 'cause they overdid it. We had to buy a bigger server.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Paul Says He Appreciates And Meets Jones' “Loyal Listeners” Across The Country. Paul told Jones after he praised him: “Well, I appreciate that. And I know you've got a lot of loyal listeners, and we hear from them and we meet them across the country and all across Kentucky, I end up running into your loyal fans.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10

“Your Victory Is Our Victory”: Alex Jones' Adoration For Rand Paul  

Alex Jones has frequently praised and vouched for the integrity of Rand Paul during his interviews. Here are numerous examples from over the years.

Jones To Paul: You're A “Very Important Torpedo” And “Weapon We Need To Use Against The New World Order.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/21/09

Jones: “We Need Real McCoys Like” Rand Paul. Jones told listeners during an interview with Paul: “We need real McCoys like Ron Paul and Rand Paul and others who actually have a record and who have spent their whole lives voting and speaking and fighting for true freedom. And so now is the time for people to support folks like yourself.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09]

Jones: “I'm Asking My Listeners To Fully Commit To You.” Paul replied: “I appreciate that and we can't do it without you.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Jones: Paul Will “Stop The Thieving, Stop The Gang Raping.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09]

Jones: “I Can't Stress Enough How Important” Paul's Election Is. Jones said Paul would combat “the New World Order” and “I can't stress enough how important this race for the Kentucky Senate is.” Paul replied: “You're right.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/21/09]

Jones To Paul: “Freedom Is Catching On Thanks To You.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10]

Jones Encouraged George Washington-Like Paul To Run For President After Senate Election. Jones asked Paul if he is thinking about running for president. Paul replied that the question is “very complimentary” but “premature.” Jones then compared Paul to George Washington and said the country needed someone like Paul. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10]

Jones To Paul: “Your Victory Is Our Victory And I Just Want To Commend You.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10]

Jones Tells Paul He's An “Honorable Person” Who “Won't Sell Out.” Jones told Paul: “We know you won't sell out. We know that. Honorable family, you're an honorable person. Values are what matter.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10]

Jones: Paul's Win Is “A Great Victory For All Lovers Of Liberty.” He added that he hopes Paul will eventually win the presidency. Jones then began laughing to himself and compared Rand's win to Washington's victory at the Battle of Trenton, though “some of us aren't going to make it out of this, but in the end, my great, great, great, great grandchildren are gonna be just like Buck Rogers. We're going to the stars and they're not going to stop us.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/10/10]

Jones Tells Paul He's Been “Fulfilling His Campaign Promises.” Jones said of Paul during an interview: “The freshman senator, as everyone has noticed, has actually been fulfilling his campaign promises to try to cut government and restore our constitutional Republic.” [Infowars Nightly News, 4/18/12]

Jones: Paul Is “Refreshing,” “Real,” “Amazing.” Jones told Paul during an interview: “It is so refreshing to talk to a senator who does not compromise and is just so real. Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much for the time today ... amazing.” [Infowars Nightly News, 4/18/12]

“Put Our Money On The Line”: How Paul And Jones Fundraised Together

By Rand Paul's own admission, Alex Jones was a key component of his fundraising strategy for his 2010 Senate campaign.

Jones Prompted Paul To Give His Mailing Address And Website For “A Donation.” Jones repeatedly promoted Paul's website and mailing address so his audience could “write to him or send a donation.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/21/09]

Paul Told Jones: “We Want Your Listeners To Go And Test Out My Website To See If They Can Overtax It” With Donations. During one appearance, Jones asked Paul how he and his listeners could help him. Paul responded: “Last time I was on your show, your listeners shut down my website 'cause they overdid it. We had to buy a bigger server. So we want your listeners to go and test out my website to see if they can overtax it. That's The other thing they can do is we're taking pledges for a moneybomb. And that website is, and we're hoping to get 10,000 people that would give $100 on one day.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Jones Said His Websites Promoted Paul's Moneybomb. Jones told his listeners that they “should get ready for the moneybomb that is coming up” and directed fans to Paul's website. He added that Jones' websites and also had links to the moneybomb. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09]

Jones Implores Listeners: “If We Don't Put Our Money On The Line” And “Our Treasure On The Line” Then “We Don't Have A Hope In Hell.” Jones encouraged listeners to monetarily support Paul, who plugged his website for fundraising. Jones added that they needed to make Paul's moneybomb reach a million dollars. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/21/09

Prompted By Jones, Paul Invited Listeners To His Texas Fundraiser. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/21/09]

Jones' YouTube Channel: “Please Support This Patriot.” A video description for Jones' interview with Paul on his official YouTube channel encourages viewers to donate to Paul, stating: “Rand's Moneybomb was one of the biggest in a long time, and now he is starting to pull away from the others in contribution money raised! Please support this Patriot who will fight for you like his father, Ron Paul of Texas." [YouTube, 8/21/09]

Vaccines, Martial Law, Eugenics, A “Shooting War,” And Hitler: What Paul Talked About With Jones

Alex Jones and Rand Paul pushed numerous conspiracy theories and fringe rhetoric during their discussions.

Paul Connected “Martial Law” And “Mandatory” Vaccinations. In a 2009 Infowars video, Paul raised the specter of big government and “martial law” when talking about vaccines. He said that “the first sort of thing you see with martial law is mandates. And they're talking about making it mandatory. I worry because the last flu vaccine we had in the 1970s, more people died from the vaccine than died from the swine flu.” [Media Matters, 2/3/15]

Paul Agreed With Jones That Democrats Want To Start A “Shooting War” -- And People Won't Give Up Their Guns And Ammo “Too Easily.” Jones told Paul that Democrats are anti-2nd Amendment and may incite a “shooting war.” Paul replied, “yep” and added that people in Knob Creek won't give up their guns and ammo “too easily.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09]

Paul Repeatedly Connected Obama Administration To Rise Of Hitler. In a 2009 Infowars video without Jones -- which was first posted online in 2010 -- Paul said that former Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel's statement about not letting a crisis go to waste was a mentality that “happened before” with “Germany in 1923 and out of that chaos came Hitler.” He added: “I worry about that again in our country.” He responded to a question about Obama supporters who were allegedly tattling on people criticizing Obama: “Do they have brown shirts on? Is there a youth patrol talking about hate speech?”

In a separate interview, Paul said he fears that issues like the “destruction of currency” could lead to “chaos” in which “really bad things can happen” like when Hitler rose to power in Germany. Paul said someone like himself would protect the country and rule of law. [YouTube, 11/16/10, via Think Progress; Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/21/09

Paul Told Jones He'd “Expose” White House Adviser Who Jones Suggested Was A Nazi Eugenicist. Jones pushed the falsehood that then-White House science advisor John Holdren supports “eugenics” and “forced drugging” in water. Jones added that it sounded like “Nazi Germany.” Paul replied that if he was in the Senate, “we'd get to expose it.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09]

Paul Predicted An “Army Of Armed EPA Agents” Would Enforce Cap And Trade. Paul said of proposed cap and trade legislation: “My prediction is, is that if cap and trade gets through, we will have an army of armed EPA agents, thousands of them. ... The EPA already has armed guards -- they have armed troopers and investigators. ... Every time you sell your house or rent your apartment, you are going to have to prove to somebody that you've got energy efficiency.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09

Paul After Jones Said Government Is Implementing Tyranny Through The Pretext Of Terrorism: “It's Kind Of Scary.” During a discussion of a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report about terrorism, Jones said: “This whole Homeland Security thing is about the government suppressing the will of the people and bringing in tyranny, that they've been using this threat of terrorism as a pretext.” Paul replied by asking Jones for more information and added: “Yeah, it's kind of scary when we're profiling our own citizens.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/21/09]

Paul Promised Jones He'll Go After “Globalists.” Jones asked Paul if he'd aggressively go after “the globalists” for their crimes. Paul replied that he would “expose” them. Paul later promised again, “we should expose people who are, you know, promoting this globalist agenda.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/23/09; 7/23/09

Alex Jones Is Backing Rand Paul For 2016

In 2015, Alex Jones has reaffirmed his endorsement of Paul for president, criticized his potential opponents, and defended him against perceptions that he's not an authentic politician.

Jones: “Rand Paul Is The Best Person For President,” “We Don't Need Jeb Bush” Or Chris Christie.  Speaking to Ron Paul, Jones reaffirmed that Rand Paul is his choice for president and criticized his potential opponents. He called Jeb Bush “absolutely terrible -- might as well just have Hillary” and added: “We don't need Jeb Bush, my goodness. We don't need Chris Christie. These guys are just Democrats or Beltway Republican RINOs. We need Rand Paul. He is just the best candidate across the board.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 1/13/15]

Jones: “Rand Paul Is The Best. I Trust Him. I've Known Him For ... 19 Years And He's The Guy For President.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 1/13/15, via Right Wing Watch]

Jones: Paul Is “For Real,” His Supposed Moderation Is Just Him “Playing Politics.” Jones vouched for Paul's authenticity and dismissed suggestions about Paul to the contrary, stating: Paul “is a constitutionalist patriot like his father and they know that. OK? So, he's playing politics with them, like Clinton played politics.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 1/26/15, via Right Wing Watch]

Correction (1/25/21): This post originally stated, “During a 2010 appearance about his candidacy, he told Jones and his listeners, ‘we can't do it without you.’” The appearance was in 2009.

Ben Dimiero and Oliver Willis contributed research to this post. Video by John Kerr.