Donald Trump: Thousands of American Muslims Celebrated 9/11 Attacks-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Donald Trump has said that he saw American Muslims in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11.
There’s no proof to back up Donald Trump’s claims that he saw thousands of Muslim Americans in New Jersey celebrated as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11.
Donald Trump first said that American Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks during a campaign stop in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 21, 2015:
During the stump speech, Donald Trump defended his call for surveillance of mosques in the United States by recounting how “thousands and thousands” of American Muslims cheered as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11. Trump’s exact words were:
I want surveillance of certain mosques, ok? If that’s ok, I want surveillance. You know what? We’ve had it before and we’ll have it again. Hey, I watched as the World Trade Center came tumbling down. I watched, in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So, something is going on, we’ve got to find out what it is. I do want surveillance. I will absolutely take database on the poeiple coming from Syrian, if we can’t stop it, but we’re going to. And, if I win, I’ve made it known, they’re going back. We can’t have them.
Then, the next day, Donald Trump doubled down on his comments that he saw American Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center fall during an interview with George Stephanopoulos. According to a transcript, Trump said:
TRUMP: Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.
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 meek — 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.
But what I want to move on right now.
Then, after the Washington Post called Trump’s claim that thousands of American Muslims celebrated as the World Trade Center fell “outrageous,” Trump tweeted a link to a Washington Post story from 2001 in an attempt to back up his claim:
The Washington Post reported on September 18, 2001, that police in Jersey City “detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgating-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” It’s important to note that the report didn’t identify those people as Muslim, however.
There isn’t any video footage of Muslim Americans celebrating as the World Trade Center fell, and even though the Washington Post article says “a number of people” were detained for allegedly celebrating the attacks, it doesn’t back up Trump’s claim that thousands upon thousands of American Muslims were celebrating as the World Trade Center fell.
Serge Kovaleski, the lead reporter on the Washington Post from 2001 that Donald Trump linked to, said he didn’t see large groups of people celebrating:
“We did a lot of shoe leather reporting in and around Jersey City and talked to a lot of residents and officials for the broader story. Much of that has, indeed, faded from memory,” said Kovaleski, who’s now an investigative reporter for The New York Times. “But I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember.”
The former police commissioner of Jersey City also said the claim was false.
So, there was at least one report that people in New Jersey were detained for celebrating as the World Trade Center fell, but we’re classifying Donald Trump’s claim that he saw thousands upon thousands of American Muslims celebrate false.