Menu

XRepublic

Unfiltered Political News

Trump, Carson baffle with claims of American Muslims cheering 9/11

<p>Donald Trump, a lightning rod for controversy with his talk about Muslims, is baffling fact checkers, academics and politicians alike with his claim that he saw footage of “thousands” of people “cheering” in a part of New Jersey with a heavy Arab presence after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.</p><p>Trump started the latest flap over the weekend, telling a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday that he watched the World Trade Center come tumbling down, adding: &quot;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.&quot;</p><p>The Republican presidential candidate doubled down Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” telling host George Stephanopoulos: &quot;It was on television. I saw it. … 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.&quot;</p><p>Rival Ben Carson got in on the conversation, telling reporters after a rally in Nevada on Monday that he saw it, too. “I think that was an inappropriate response,&quot; he said. &quot;I don’t know if on the basis of that you could say all Muslims are bad people — I really think that would be a stretch.” Carson added that he saw “the film of it.” Asked what film he was referring to, Carson said &quot;the newsreels.&quot;</p><p>His campaign later apologized, saying Carson was thinking of footage from the Middle East, not New Jersey, <a href=”http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ben-carson-newsreels-american-muslims-cheering-911/story?id=35376256″ target=”_blank”>according to ABC News</a>. &quot;He doesn’t stand behind his comments to New Jersey and American Muslims,&quot; said campaign spokesman Doug Watts. &quot;He was rather thinking of the protests going on in the Middle East and some of the demonstrations that were going on in celebration of the towers going down.&quot;</p><br><p>But Trump’s refusal to back down has led to a collective head scratch. </p><p>Both <a href=”http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/22/donald-trump/fact-checking-trumps-claim-thousands-new-jersey-ch/” target=”_blank”>PolitiFact</a> and <a href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/11/22/donald-trumps-outrageous-claim-that-thousands-of-new-jersey-muslims-celebrated-the-911-attacks/” target=”_blank”>The W</a><a href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/11/22/donald-trumps-outrageous-claim-that-thousands-of-new-jersey-muslims-celebrated-the-911-attacks/” target=”_blank”>ashington Post</a> fired off fact checks, concluding there’s bupkis to lend credibility to what Trump is talking about. Extensive reviews of news clips turned up nothing except for some unfounded rumors at the time. And as far as TV footage, there was coverage of Palestinians celebrating on the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but no such known footage in the United States, never mind New Jersey.</p><p>Gary Alan Fine examined the rumor that Arabs were celebrating in the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in “The Global Grapevine,” a 2010 book he co-authored that delved into rumors on terrorism, immigration and trade. In an interview with POLITICO on Monday, Fine acknowledged that it’s possible there were small groups of Muslims that celebrated the attacks but rebutted Trump’s and Carson’s claims that they saw such cheering in New Jersey on the news.</p><p>“That memory is not accurate,” said Fine, now a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. “Now they may have remembered seeing Arabs demonstrating on television, but that would have come from the Middle East.”</p><p>The comments are the latest in a string of inflammatory statements from Trump and Carson, two 2016 outsiders who have built their political brands on the idea that they refuse to be politically correct. Trump, in the wake of the deadly Nov. 13 attacks by the Islamic State on Paris, has ratcheted up his statements on Muslims, saying New York should pick back up its targeted surveillance of Muslim communities and floating the idea of a database to track Muslims. Carson has offered up his own cautionary statements, saying in September that &quot;I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”</p><p>The pushback from the Muslim community to the latest claims was sharp. &quot;The claim Donald Trump and Ben Carson have made about American Muslims cheering in New Jersey after September 11th are patently false and widely discredited,” the group Muslim Advocates said in a statement on Monday. “Trump has repeatedly sought to divide Americans during this incredibly difficult time following the Paris tragedy. What we need from our public officials is to be brought together as a country, not divided by false and harmful rhetoric that has real-life consequences in the form of rising incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry and hate in communities across the U.S.”</p><br><p>Some Democrats jumped on his comments as disappointing, but good for their own party. Steven Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City, said on Twitter that his city doesn’t want to be part of Trump’s “hate campaign” and called his claims absurd.</p><p>“Either <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump” target=”_blank”>@realDonaldTrump</a> has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party,” Fulop said in a <a href=”https://twitter.com/StevenFulop/status/668457764792979456″ target=”_blank”>tweet</a> on Sunday, adding that the “good thing is his campaign 100% leads to dem pres.”</p><p>Some Republican rivals, in particular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, weren’t so quick to fully condemn Trump’s comments. While he didn’t back up Trump’s claims, he didn’t shoot them down, either.</p><p>&quot;It was a pretty emotional time for me because, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s family involved, there were, you know, friends involved and so it was a pretty harrowing time,&quot; he said, according to a report from <a href=”http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/11/christie_on_thousands_in_nj_cheering_on_911_i_dont.html#incart_2box_nj-homepage-featured” target=”_blank”>NJ Advance Media</a>. &quot;I do not remember that, and so it’s not something that was part of my recollection. I think if it had happened, I would remember it, but, you know, there could be things I forget, too.&quot;</p><p>Florida Sen. Marco Rubio didn’t equivocate, saying the allegations from Trump and Carson were false. “It’s not true and there’s plenty of fact checks to prove that it isn’t,” he said, <a href=”http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/trump-doubles-down-carson-joins-discredited-report” target=”_blank”>according to MSNBC</a>. ”As I said early in this campaign if all I did all day was respond to everything Donald Trump says that isn’t true I wouldn’t be able to run my campaign.”</p><p>Trump on Monday <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/668867262456156160″ target=”_blank”>tweeted</a> a link to a September 2001 Washington Post <a href=”https://t.co/CpsMxs54qv” target=”_blank”>article</a> with a screenshot of a particular paragraph and demanded an apology. The statement read, “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 parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”</p><p>While the article did suggest that some Arabs may have celebrated, the allegations weren’t confirmed, “a number of people” doesn’t equate to “thousands” and there was still no video evidence to back Trump’s statement.</p><p>“Does that prove he saw it on television as he claimed?” Fine asked. “No. That’s not a defense for that because the article doesn’t speak to that and there’s no evidence. Whatever he might have seen, whatever he might have recalled in now 14 years later, he didn’t see any kind of demonstrations in the United States.”</p><p><i>Nick Gass contributed to this report.</i></p><br>

Powered by WPeMatico