Donald Trump is insisting he saw something on 9/11 that most Americans have apparently developed amnesia about. On Saturday, he told a rally in Alabama that he had "watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering" as the World Trade Center came down, the Guardian reports. The New York Times reports that he doubled down on the comments about cheering in "areas with large Arab populations" on ABC's This Week on Sunday, even after George Stephanopoulos told him that police have said there was no such cheering. "It did happen, I saw it," Trump said. "It was on television. I saw it," he continued, adding that while "it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it," it was "well covered at the time." More:
- Trump's remarks were widely condemned as simply untrue by both parties, NJ.com reports. "Clearly, Trump has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party," said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, a possible Democratic candidate for governor.
- "I think if it had happened, I would remember it," said NJ Gov. Chris Christie, per the Times.
- "It did not happen. He didn't see it. But who’s there to challenge him on that?" wondered NBC's Tom Brokaw, calling Trump's statements "flat-out lies."
- The Washington Post gives Trump's claim four Pinocchios on a scale that does not go up to five, finding that while there were rumors of isolated celebrations in New Jersey, they were not covered on TV and no video or other proof exists. The police commissioner of Paterson, which has the state's largest Muslim population, says the community was extremely helpful and law-abiding after the attacks. "There were no flags burning, no one was dancing," he says, using what the Post calls a "barnyard epithet" to describe Trump's claims.
- In the ABC interview, Trump also refused to rule out a mandatory database to track US Muslims and promised to bring back waterboarding, the Times reports.
- On Sunday, Trump tweeted what the Huffington Post calls a "chart of racist and wildly inaccurate crime statistics" that appears to be aimed at "perpetuating racist myths about black people and crime." The numbers in the chart bear no relation to the FBI's crime statistics, and the source is listed as the "Crime Statistics Bureau, San Francisco," which does not exist.
(A Black Lives Matter protester was roughed up at a Trump rally
on Saturday, and Trump says "maybe he should have been.")