STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you made — you raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at — at your latest rally — and I want to show them, relating to 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
There are no videos of “thousands and thousands of people” cheering the collapse of the towers from Jersey City, New Jersey.
There were Palestinians in East Jerusalem who applauded and cheered the attacks on September 11.
(Certain conspiracy-theorizing liberals offered a nonsensical charge that the footage of celebrating Palestinians was from the Persian Gulf War in 1991, but the footage included individuals praising Osama bin Laden, who was largely unknown in 1991.) But that’s East Jerusalem, the heavily-Arab/Palestinian section of Jerusalem, not New Jersey.
There are Muslims within the United States who supported the attacks and who tout Osama bin Laden as the true leader of Islam; CNN did a profile on some of them in 2009. But the idea that thousands and thousands of anti-American Muslims could gather by the banks of the Hudson River – when every single television camera in the area was focused on lower Manhattan – and cheer the attacks, without anyone taking a picture or video of it, much less have a confrontation with anyone, is implausible.
The notion that the Jersey City police — or in fact all state authorities and local media — would happily engage of a cover-up of local residents celebrating the murder of fellow police officers also defies logic.
UPDATE: Powerline points to a line in the September 18 edition of the Washington Post:
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.
So what is “a number”? Is it close to Trump’s asserted “thousands and thousands”?