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Ben Carson Insists He’s Seen Non-Existent Video Of New Jersey Muslims Celebrating 9/11 (UPDATED)

Ben Carson (R) at a rally on Monday CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JOHN LOCHER
Ben Carson (R) at a rally on Monday CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JOHN LOCHER

A day after Donald Trump made widely debunked claims that crowds of thousands in New Jersey had cheered as the the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, Ben Carson reportedly has vouched for him.

ABC’s Katherine Faulders tweeted on Monday that the Republican presidential hopeful Carson had told her that “he saw the film” of American Muslims cheering as the towers fell in New Jersey at the time.

Trump initially made the comments about Jersey City, NJ, at a campaign rally. On Sunday, he defended the claims to This Week host George Stephanopoulos, saying, “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.” Trump added that the alleged celebration “was well covered at the time.”

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop forcefully denied the claim, saying Trump “has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party.”

Carson, whose own advisers have reportedly questioned his grasp of foreign policy, would appear to fall in the same boat.

A Washington Post article in September of 2001 contained a single line referencing celebration: “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.” Though Carson claims to have seen video footage of these celebrations, even the conservative National Review noted “There are no videos of ‘thousands and thousands of people’ cheering the collapse of the towers from Jersey City, New Jersey,” but rather there was a Fox News video broadcast purportedly showing a handful cheering of Palestinians in East Jerusalem on 9/11.

Update:

Carson’s campaign told ABC News on Monday that he had been thinking of celebrations in the Middle East (not New Jersey) and apologized for his earlier comments. Later, in an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Carson downplayed his mistake. “What we were talking about is the reaction of Muslims after the 9/11 attack and if they were in a celebratory mood. And, you know, I was really focusing on that it was an inappropriate thing to do, no matter where they were,” he claimed, blaming reporters for having “an agenda behind the question.”

Update:

ABC News has posted the original video, showing the question clearly being about New Jersey.