Lou Dobbs Says Ruling Out Notre Dame Arson Is a 'Political Decision,' Blaze Could Be Linked Hundreds of Church Attacks

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs has suggested that French officials were wrong to quickly discount arson as the cause for Monday's devastating fire that engulfed the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

On Tuesday, Dobbs echoed conspiracy theories being pushed by several right-wing commentators who have cast doubt on the official accounts of the fire, about which much remains unknown. The Fox Business host provided no new evidence to disprove statements from French officials.

Soon after the fire broke out, officials discounted arson. French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the blaze and are considering "involuntary destruction caused by fire." The cathedral was undergoing extensive renovation before the fire erupted, and initial reports suggested this work may have been to blame.

But Dobbs said it was a "political decision" to rule out arson. "One thing authorities are ruling out, however, within just a matter of hours, arson," he told viewers. "That was a decision made within hours. It sounds like a different kind of decision," he added later. "Perhaps a political decision rather than one based on careful investigation of the facts."

Dobbs suggested the fire may be linked to a reported spike in church vandalism in France. "Perhaps overlooked since yesterday is 875 Catholic churches in France were vandalized in 2018—875," he said. "In a single week last month, 12 churches were vandalized, including a fire deliberately set at a church also located in Paris. This is context, this is not speculation, this is the situation right now in France and the recent history of what has happened to Catholic churches throughout the nation."

He added this context has been "ignored too often by some covering the tragedy, some who have ruled out 'speculation' about the cause of the Notre Dame fire as they speculate—taking it as gospel that arson was not the cause."

The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe told Newsweek last month that much of the vandalism is believed to have been the work of secularists, feminists and other anti-religion groups.

Though Dobbs did not point the finger at a specific group, other conservative talking heads have indicated—without providing any evidence—that Islamists may be to blame. Two Fox News guests were forced off air yesterday after trying to spread conspiracy theories about the fire, Mediaite reported.

Former Fox News host Glenn Beck said on Blaze TV, "If this was arson this is going to be bad.... 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."

Chad Robichaux, a former MMA fighter and author, agreed, and told Beck, "I think it would be a slaughter in the streets" if Islamists proved responsible, though like Beck offered zero evidence to contest official French statements.

Lou Dobbs Notre Dame Fire Arson
A picture taken on April 16, 2019 shows the altar surrounded by charred debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral. LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images