Candied yam riddled with moldy spider carcasses Donald Trump managed to involve himself in yet another controversy this weekend, when he claimed to have seen footage of huge crowds of New Jersey Muslims cheering wildly on September 11, 2001. Those Muslims were imaginary. Even the most conservative news outlets can’t quite get with Donald on this one.
As Trump gets more and more visibly tired and out-of-it on the campaign trail, the claims he’s making are getting wilder. He retweeted a racist and entirely incorrect graphic which claims black Americans are responsible for most of the murders in the country. And for some reason he’s glommed onto an entirely discredited claim, that New Jersey Muslims rallied in the streets to celebrate the deaths on 9/11.
Trump first made the claim that he saw said Muslims during a rally on Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, then repeated it during an appearance on The Week with George Stephanopoulos. The two men had an absolutely jaw-dropping exchange, where Stephanopoulos politely but firmly reminded Trump that claim had been debunked, and Trump stubbornly insisted, no, man, I saw those Muslims:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you misspeak yesterday?
TRUMP: It did happen. I saw it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw that —
TRUMP: It was on television. I saw it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — with your own eyes?
TRUMP: George, it did happen.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Police say it didn’t happen.
TRUMP: There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.
However, is is likely the celebrations never happened, at least on that scale. Trump may be confusing rumors about Jersey City with actual, televised Palestinian celebrations abroad.
(The Palestinian “celebrations” were quite small, but yes, they were real.)
Fox News also notes that there is “no evidence” of said New Jersey celebrations in either Paterson or Jersey City, though rumors of both circulated for years.
Interestingly, a New Jersey radio station notes that now some of their callers are claiming to have seen these celebrations, including a man named Eric who claims to have seen “hundreds” of people crying and rejoicing, including women and children.
Trump in Birmingham on Saturday, November 21, 2015. Photo via AP Images