After a U.S. airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, dramatically escalating tensions in the reason, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich misleadingly tried to link Iran to 9/11 to justify pushing for regime change in Iran.
On January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two U.S. military bases located in Iraq. The move was a significant attack from Iran and a clear retaliation for the airstrike that killed Soleimani.
On Wednesday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich pushed for regime change in Iran, insisting that it’s the best long-term option and that Iran is not “too big” of a country. In making his case, Gingrich claimed that Iran “get[s] away with an amazing number of things, including court findings and 9/11 Commission findings that they directly helped the people who attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people.” The show’s co-hosts did not counter his claim.
The push to link Iran with 9/11 echoes a tweet sent by Vice President Mike Pence over the weekend, which drew widespread criticism and was swiftly debunked as misleading. Although Pence’s spokesperson pointed to a State Department document that claims Iran permitted members of Al Qaeda to travel through Iran to Afghanistan, where some received military training, this is not evidence that Iran or Soleimani knowingly helped to carry out the attacks. Additionally, the 9/11 Commission Report found that Iran was not involved with and had no knowledge of the attacks that occurred on September 11.
Still, Gingrich tried to justify Soleimani’s assassination by saying Iran “directly helped” Al Qaeda carry out the talks. (There is actually evidence suggesting that Saudi Arabia, which the Trump administration considers to be a strong ally, actually did play a role in the 9/11 attacks, yet Trump took a previously undisclosed meeting with a top Saudi official only two days ago.)
Days earlier, the co-hosts of Fox & Friends Weekend also defended Pence’s tweet this past weekend; co-host Pete Hegseth insisted Pence was “simply pointing out history” because Soleimani helped “Sunni members of Al Qaeda travel through a certain country to conduct an attack” (there is no public evidence Soleimani played this role).