Donald Trump made a claim that isn't true — that thousands of people celebrated the fall of the World Trade Center in New Jersey. And on Monday night in Ohio, he defend the false claim once again.
Here's Trump in his own words onstage:
During a speech recently, I said that I saw in parts of New Jersey — Jersey City, but parts of New Jersey — I saw people getting together and in fairly large numbers celebrating as the World Trade Center was coming down, killing thousands of people, thousands and thousands of people.
But that's not quite what Trump actually said during his recent speech.
"I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said in Alabama.
Not just a few people, or a person, but thousands and thousands of people.
Back to Trump on Monday:
People are still dying over what happened at the World Trade Center, and they're dying a terrible death. And I saw people — and I saw 'em on television, and I read about it on the internet and I read about it — and they said, 'Oh, we can't find anything, Mr. Trump.' The reporters are calling all day, all night, they want to find out, did Trump make a mistake?
So I have some good people, and they checked and they checked, and believe me, it's being cleared off many of stuff — they don't like that, because that's not good for the liberal cause, they don't like it.
And lo and behold, I start getting phone calls in my office by the hundreds. That they were there and they saw this take place! On the internet and my tweets: @realDonaldTrump, @realDonaldTrump, they'll turn those cameras off for a second. Look at all of them. @realDonaldTrump.
So all of the sudden, I'm getting all these tweets, I saw it, I was there, I was this. But I saw it! I saw it! So what happens ... it was a long time ago.
There are no reports of "thousands and thousands" of people celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center in New Jersey.
Despite massive media scrutiny of this claim, no one has yet produced video of people celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers in New Jersey, even though Trump claims that he saw this happen on television.
At the time, Palestinians were filmed celebrating the attacks — but in the Middle East. The Middle East is not located in New Jersey.
So, Sept. 18. Now you know Sept. 11 was one of the worst days — maybe the worst day in the history of our country, worse than Pearl Harbor, because at least with Pearl Harbor they were attacking the military. They were attacking ships and they were attacking ships, and they were attacking the military. Here they're attacking civilians that — I knew people, I knew so many people who died in the World Trade Center, unbelievable people, great people, friends of mine, unbelievable people. They died in the World Trade Center — they didn't have weapons, they didn't have anything. They died horribly, and that was a horrible death. I watched people jumping off the building. How would you like to be 102 stories up and your choice is burn or jump? And many people jumped. I witnessed it. I watched that, because I had a view, I have a window in my apartment that specifically was aimed at the World Trade Center, because of the beauty of the whole downtown Manhattan. And I watched as people jumped, and I watched as the second plane came in. And I was watching television as the first plane hit, and they said, oh, it must have been a boiler explosion. But I'm good at real estate, boilers are not up there. Boilers are underneath — they're in the basements. And I said that was not a boiler… and then I saw the second plane come in, and I said, 'Wow, that's unbelievable.'
That's right: On Monday night, Trump also decided to invoke the people who jumped from the towers while defending his fake claim.
And there were people that were very, very happy. And those people — not good people.
So, nobody believed me. Some people believed me. By the way, thousands of people believed me, because they saw it. But the media was going crazy, they were having a field day, and one of my people came in… 'Mr. Trump, I have a story in the Washington Post.' Washington Post? Washington Post? How good is that? That's good. Because they do us no favors. They're one of many, but they do us… and I have to tell you, and I say it a lot, among the most dishonest people I've ever dealt with are the media.
Among the most dishonest. Unbelievable! The level of dishonesty is unbelievable — not everybody, I've met some incredible people. Those people right there, with all the cameras going. And some are very good. In all fairness, I've dealt with some really fair people, I've dealt with some really treacherous, horrible human beings, that will quote you totally wrong things that you never even said. I said I never said that… But they're very dishonest people.
Trump is citing the 15th paragraph of this Washington Post story dated Sept. 18, 2001. The story reads like this:
That's it. That's the entire story. It does not describe "thousands and thousands" of people.
Back to Trump:
So, one of my people comes in, and this is a story from the Washington Post on Sept. 18, a week later, 2001: 'In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style' — tailgate, know what that means? Tailgate! That means football games, Ohio State, thousands of people in parking lots, on roofs, tailgate is a lot of people, tailgate's not two people — 'and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.'
Tailgate-style does not mean "thousands and thousands" of people. And this one paragraph of this one piece in the days after the attack notes that this was "alleged." This was not a first-person account.
At the time, the mayor and police in Paterson, New Jersey, which has a large Muslim population, dismissed the rumors that there were celebrations.
Back to Trump:
OK? The Washington Post. Washington Post. So they've come in and we've received hundreds of phone calls to my office, because it's become sort of a big subject, and they want to try and deny it, but you can't deny it. Many people in this room heard about it, probably saw it, and you know the sad part is…we're all sort of on the same side. Whether you're liberal or conservative or Democrat or Republican — we're sort of on the same side. We want our country to be great again. That's what the whole thing is, right?
It really doesn't make sense. But fortunately, somebody in the Washington Post wrote that, and they'll try to deny it, they'll probably say, 'We made a mistake.' Which I almost like that better. Then I can show you how dishonest they all are. I might like that better. Let them say that. But they'll find some reason to deny it. They'll call it a typo. It was a very long and winding typo. They'll try and deny it. But I don't think they'll be able to, not with the smart people.
I love you too, darling.
Donald Trump said "thousands and thousands" of people celebrated something, and he said he saw it himself on television. There is no video of this. There are no reports of this.
And his proof that this happened is one paragraph of an article about "a number of people" who had been "questioned" for "allegedly" celebrating the attacks.
Katherine Miller is the political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Katherine Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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