As Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald Trump Jeb Bush: Trump a ‘distraction in and of himself’ Protests erupt across Russia, hundreds arrested: reports Ill. gov candidate runs as fresh face, despite ties to political machine MORE continues to offer newspaper clippings and soundbites he says are proof of his claim that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslim Americans cheering the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the streets of New Jersey, the TV network responsible for the rumor is stepping in to debunk it.
Digging deep into its archives, MTV News uncovered the Nov. 17, 2001, clip credited with launching the “celebrating Muslims” claim and re-released it in a short video titled "Trump Is Wrong About People ‘Cheering' 9/11 In New Jersey — Here's The Evidence.”
In the footage, a young Patterson, N.J., resident named Emily Acevedo is seen describing a group of teenagers — “13, maybe 14 at most” — chanting and banging sticks and stones on public property in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. "They were saying 'burn Amerca' and, you know, all these things about America." Later, she added, "they were kids, they didn't know what they were doing. They had so much hate, it was just so sad."
"I don't recall them or hearing the kids say 'burn America.' If anything, they were problably saying 'burn something' but not 'burn America.' "
Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel, who is believed to be the originator of the claim Trump is now championing, attributes the rumor directly to the MTV News story.
“It’s strange that there is no record of it online,” Schlussel told The Washington Post before MTV posted the video on YouTube last week, "but as I always say, just because it is not online, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
Trump, for his part, continued to stand by his remarks Tuesday morning, tweeting a short 2001 excerpt from the very MTV News segment the network itself says disproves his claim.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who appears in the footage tweeted out by Trump as proof of Muslim Americans celebration after 9/11, responded in a tweet of his own, saying the clip in question “is edited” out of context.
This report was updated at 1 p.m.