Controversial conservative commentator and radio host Glenn Beck has suggested that the devastating fire that destroyed much of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral is comparable to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Speaking on Blaze TV—a conservative media company created by Beck—the 55-year-old suggested the partial destruction of the “wildly important” cathedral is a national tragedy for France.
“This is their 9/11,” Beck said. “This is a world landmark and probably, next to the Eiffel Tower, the most iconic building in all of France, and more important than the Eiffel Tower.”
Firefighters were able to save the 850-year-old cathedral’s structure and iconic towers, but the blaze destroyed the building’s roof and collapsed its spire.
Beck also suggested—without evidence—that the fire may have been intentional. French officials have ruled out arson—whether terrorist or otherwise—and the fire may be linked to ongoing renovation works. But this did not stop the former Fox News host from suggesting that Islamist terrorists or “gilets jaunes” protesters may have been to blame.
“If this was arson this is going to be bad,” he said. “It might have just been started by a cigarette, we don’t know. But if this was started by Islamists, I don’t think you’ll find out about it, because I think it would set the entire country on fire. They’ve had killings, they’ve had mass shootings, they’ve had people running people down in the streets—the tension is very high,” he added.
Beck then doubled down on his conspiracy theory, even comparing the fire—from which there were no casualties—to the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands and prompted conflicts that continue to this day. “This is their World Trade Center moment, and if this was done by terrorists I think that they will keep it quiet.”
He also claimed the fire may have been set by anti-government “gilets jaunes” protesters, who have taken to the streets in recent months to demand a wide range of economic reforms. Regardless, Beck said, the fire is “a really big deal the world has lost a major, major piece of history today.”
Chad Robichaux, a former MMA fighter and author, was also a guest on the The News & Why It Matters show. “I’m with you,” he said to Beck. Robichaux suggested the French authorities will not “want to deal with the consequences of bringing it up and bringing that to a head… I think it would be a slaughter in the streets.” Robichaux presented no evidence to support his claims.