No one but Trump remembers thousands of Muslims cheering 9/11 in Jersey City
Above: New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea says that while there are no confirmed news reports we can find of 'thousands' of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in Jersey City, he's heard a lot from individuals who say they saw some people in New Jersey doing so.
Donald Trump's been standing by — even doubling down — on his claim "thousands and thousands of people" in Jersey City cheered on 9/11 as the Twin Towers of the World Trade center collapsed.
The only problem is: No one else seems to remember it that way.
"I don't recall that. I don't," Gov. Chris Christie told reporters while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, New Jersey Advance Media reports.
Saturday night in Birmingham, Ala., Trump argued for surveillance of "certain mosques" and saying he would "absolutely take" a database of Syrian refugees coming into America "if we can't stop it, but we're going to."
"Hey, 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. So something's going on. We've got to find out what it is."
Then, Sunday, Trump repeated the claim in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" — when Stephanopoulos told Trump that police had refuted similar rumors at the time.
"It did happen. I saw it," Trump said. "It was on television. I saw it. ... 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."
He continued: "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."
According to the Associated Press, a spokeswoman for Trump didn't respond to a request for a clarification about those comments — though Trump later bashed the Associated Press reporter on Twitter without addressing any points in the reporter's story.
In a series of Tweets Sunday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop called the claim "absurd" and said his city "doesn't want to be part of the @realDonaldTrump hate campaign — we aren't about that."
George E. Pataki in a Tweet said he didn't know "what luxury spider-hole @realDonaldTrump was hiding in on Sept. 11, but I saw Americans come together that day."
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told BuzzFeed News this weekend Trump was repeating "one of these vile memes" that had been "on the anti-Islam hate sites for some time, but there’s actually no evidence to support it whatsoever. And it’d be interesting if he personally saw it. That would be quite interesting since it didn’t happen.”
The Anti-Defamation League also told Buzzfeed, “It is unfortunate that Donald Trump is giving new life to long-debunked conspiracy theories about 9/11.”
“This seems a variation of the anti-Semitic myth that a group of Israelis were seen celebrating as the Twin Towers fell. “His comments are irresponsible — not to mention factually challenged," the ADL said in a statement to the site.
PolitiFact, in a report Sunday evening, said after an "exhaustive search of newspaper and television transcripts," it found widely broadcast video of people in Palestine celebrating the 9/11 attacks — but absolutely evidence of celebrations like the ones Trump described in America.
In Jersey City specifically, it said it found two "uncorroborated and unsourced mentions" but "neither begins to approach the scale Trump described." It continued:
The Associated Press, on Sept. 17, 2001, described "rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims" in Jersey City. But the same report said those rumors were "unfounded."
The Washington Post, on Sept. 18, 2001, published an article that claimed "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." The Post story includes no source for this information, and we found no evidence that any of these allegations ever stuck.
Another, more persistent rumors of celebrations oin or near Paterson — which has a large Mulsim population — didn't pan and out appeared to be spawned by chain emails and Howard Stern's show, according to PolitiFact.
New Jersey has a higher population of Muslims than any other state
"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," Christie said, according to the New Jersey Advance Media report. "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. But I don't remember that, no."