Politics

Paul Ryan Primary Opponent Promotes Debunked ‘Pizzagate’

Paul Nehlen said he believes conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and child sex ring

Wisconsin Republican Paul Nehlen lost to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan by 68 points in last year’s 2016 Republican primary. (Courtesy Nehlen for Congress Facebook page)

The primary challenger to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he believes the debunked conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate.”

Wisconsin Republican Paul Nehlen made the disclosure while attempting to connect with voters through an online question-and-answer session on Reddit earlier this month, The Associated Press reported.

When asked what is thoughts were on the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, Nehlen said, “I believe it is real.”

The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory focused on Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. Some far-right activists falsely claimed that the establishment was the location of a child sex ring tied to Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders.

While the claim was proved false a number of times, including by D.C. police, a man entered the restaurant with a gun in December 2016 and fired three times.

Nehlen did not expand on why he believed in “Pizzagate” but did respond to Twitter messages from the AP.

“I believe in the broader possibility that there are those in positions of power to which laws do not equally apply to them, and therefore, I pray (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions unleashes the full power of his assets to root out and prosecute EQUALLY those who prey on children, including human trafficking narco-terrorists, and those in positions of power,” Nehlen said.

During the same Reddit conversation from Aug. 3, Nehlen called a questioner “amazingly retarded.” Nehlen told the AP on Monday that he was being “sardonic.”

Ryan campaign spokesman Zack Roday told the AP that Nehlen “has consistently proven himself irrelevant.” He also called Nehlen’s “retarded” remark “wrong,” and “hurtful.”

Roday added that Nehlen should not “trade in conspiracy theories.”

Nehlen, a manufacturing executive, lost to Ryan by 68 points in last year’s Republican primary for Wisconsin’s 1st District.

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