‘It did happen. . . I saw it’: Trump stands by claim that thousands of Muslims in NJ cheered on 9/11

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is not backing down from a comment he made on Saturday that “thousands” of people in New Jersey cheered when the Twin Towers were leveled on 9/11.

Trump singled out Jersey City, which has a large Arab population, while speaking at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” the candidate 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.”

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Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week, host George Stephanopoulos gave Trump a chance to walk back the comment. Characterizing the claim as an Internet rumor, Stephanopoulos said “police say that didn’t happen” and asked the real estate tycoon if he misspoke.

“It did happen. I saw it, “ Trump replied. “It was on television. I saw it.”

Stephanopoulos reiterated that police dispute the claim.

“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations,” Trump insisted. “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” he added. “And that tells you something.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed, the Anti-Defamation League said Trump’s claim is unsubstantiated, according to The Hill.

“It is unfortunate that Donald Trump is giving new life to long-debunked conspiracy theories about 9/11,” the organization said. “His comments are irresponsible – not to mention factually challenged.”

Here is the full interview, with the remarks about 9/11 coming at the 6:45-minute mark:

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