It must be so demoralizing for the GOP Establishment and the media. Every time they think they’ve finally got Donald Trump on the ropes, he delivers a devastating right hook and another knockout.
In the aftermath of Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims were celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers, one point is becoming clear: While he may have exaggerated or conflated events that happened elsewhere, his basic claim is correct. Some Muslims were indeed openly celebrating, and that’s all Trump will need to buttress his favorite storyline — that the press is biased against him.
A newly unearthed local news report from the days after 9/11 states that a “swarm” of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey, actually were on a rooftop exploding with glee on the night of the attacks.
From the video:
“There is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, ‘was swarming with suspects’ — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by other neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building.”
Others are coming forward to suggest that Trump at least has a serious point.
Then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told One American News he had received reports of celebrations in New Jersey.
“We had a number of reports of people celebrating,” Kerik said. “I remember Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. There were some in Queens. There were also some in Patterson, New Jersey, and Jersey City.”
Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City at the time, said at least some people were celebrating across the river in New York City.
“We did have some reports of people celebrating that day as the towers were coming down,” Giuliani told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday on New Day. “Some in Queens, some in Brooklyn — 10, 12, maybe 40,” he said.
“I think what he’s doing is exaggerating,” Giuliani said of Trump. “People were celebrating, he’s right about that.”
“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.”
But Giuliani didn’t exactly rule out that thousands were celebrating in New Jersey, sounding a bit equivocal.
“I wouldn’t have known if it happened in some part of New Jersey,” Giuliani said.
And then of course there is the Washington Post story, first unearthed not by the media — and not by the person who wrote it — that was unequivocal about 9/11 celebration parties going down in New Jersey.
“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,” the piece stated.
Once again, a supposed “gaffe” that was going to bring Trump’s poll numbers down to earth has done nothing of the kind. A newly released poll by Quinnipiac, taken entirely after Trump’s original statement about Muslims celebrating and mostly following the commentary “debunking” his claim, has Trump increasing his support by 3 percentage points.