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Donald Trump’s most hateful falsehood?

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One night in November of 2015, four months after announcing his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump was delivering one of his typically disjointed and rambling speeches at a rally in Birmingham, Ala., when he touched upon the subject of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In support of his argument that there are lots of terrorist sympathizers in America, Trump said he saw “thousands” of New Jerseyans celebrating after the attacks of 9/11.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” Trump said. “And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

In an interview on ABC the following morning, George Stephanopoulos questioned Trump about his account of the event,  noting that “the police say that didn’t happen.”

Trump’s response: “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.”

Wrong. It was not well-covered. It was not covered at all — because it never happened. All the television networks and all the TV stations in New Jersey in New York said none of their coverage of the events on that memorable day included any incident like the one Trump described.

Police agencies denied that it ever happened. So did all the major public officials in New Jersey and New York.

A search of newspaper and television transcripts from September 2001 through December of that year found no significant mention of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks. There were isolated incidents of a few people, presumably Muslims, delighting in the collapse of Twin Towers, but nothing even remotely similar to what Trump had described.

By now, we’ve become familiar enough with the hooey that Trump regularly peddles to wonder how much of it he actually believes himself. Such is the case with the New Jersey story. Did he really believe he saw that stuff on TV? Or did he knowingly concoct the tale just to curry favor with anti-Muslim voters?

In any event, he willfully played the hate card. In so doing, he distinguished himself as perhaps the most bigoted presidential candidate since George Wallace nearly 50 years ago.

Yes, Trump won, and now he’s president. But those facts are shameful and likely will remain so for a long, long time, even if Trump doesn’t last for a full term.

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1 Comment

  1. There is something about this regime keeping going the wrong way in its understanding of the US constitution and arrogant practices of the executive power.

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