LEWISTON — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey of Auburn is criticizing his political rival, independent Angus King, arguing that King equated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with recent Russian cyberwarfare during remarks Tuesday.
King, speaking at 9/11 remembrance ceremonies in Lewiston and Auburn, told audiences that 9/11 was the start of warfare over ideals — an attack on what America stands for — which he said continues today with the likes of cyberattacks.
By midmorning, a video clip of King’s remarks issued by Brakey’s campaign was making the rounds on social media, shared on websites, including Breitbart News.
The entire clip is 22 seconds, and splices together two sound bytes. King’s speech was more than five minutes long.
“I am appalled that Angus King, on today of all days, compared the brutal terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the murder of over 3,000 innocent Americans to Russian computer hackers,” Brakey said on social media. “The two things are simply incomparable, and reflect the deranged thinking of Angus and his liberal allies.”
Brakey said King should “retract his statement immediately and apologize for his shameful remark.”
King’s office issued a statement later Tuesday, calling out Brakey for taking the speech out of context in a clip that had been spliced together.
“This day should not be about spliced videos and internet trolling, but about remembrance and national unity,” the statement said. “Senator King was humbled to join first responders in Lewiston and Auburn to remember the victims of the September 11th attacks and honor the firefighters, EMS personnel, and police officers who answered the call that day.”
Brakey attended the Lewiston 9/11 remembrance ceremony Tuesday, where King addressed first responders and local elected officials, along with Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
During his remarks, King said the 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era of warfare, “a beginning of a new war that’s continuing to play out” against American ideals.
He said the attacks continue today in different forms, including hacking efforts from Russia, Iran and North Korea. King said these forms of warfare, no matter where they’re coming from, attempt to undermine America “because of who we are.”
“They don’t like our ideas,” he told the crowd in Auburn earlier in the day. “It was a radical idea in 1775 and it still is today.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King speaks during the Auburn Fire Department 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at Central Station on Tuesday. The department’s 9/11 memorial, at left, includes a piece of steel that was a part of the World Trade Center. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)