When it comes to campaign rhetoric, sometimes it seems like anything goes on the Republican side. They know their voting base is primarily older white voters. In an effort to reel them in, playing to their sense of fear of non-white, non-Christian people is an easy go-to. While nearly all of the slate of Republican candidates has said something horrendous, none do it quite so loudly, proudly, and consistently as Donald Trump.
In the past he's trashed Hispanics (Mexicans in particular) and "smart" women (those who don't know their place is in the kitchen and bedroom, apparently). Muslims are an easy target as well. When you target fellow Americans, however - regardless of religion - then your words get a closer look.
Trump has claimed that "thousands" of people were dancing in the street in Jersey City, NJ on 9/11 as the towers fell. On it's surface, it seems like a typical exaggeration. It is of course dog-whistle "racism", attempting to cast suspicion on fellow Americans based on their religion (and possibly ethnicity). It's the sort of talk that can lead to stochastic terrorism (which is a bit ironic, when you think about it).
Trump said he saw the video on TV, but no video can be found to support his claim. There is some evidence that he may have seen a hurried news report that there were celebrations, but that report was debunked the same day
I know it's not true, because I was there.
On the evening of 9/10/2001, a colleague and I flew into Newark airport, and spent the night at a hotel about 10 blocks from the waterfront in Jersey City. On the morning of 9/11, we happened to run into another guy who was going to the same office we were to attend the training we were there to provide. He had a car (we did not), so he offered to drive us there. On the drive to the office, he casually noted that the World Trade Center was on fire.
At the time, I thought to myself someone had left a bomb in a bathroom. We parked the car in an underground lot in a building on the waterfront. We could see both towers directly across the river. There were some flames coming out, but that was it. While getting bagels, the person mentioned a plane had hit it. Everyone assumed a small plane. After getting our food, we went upstairs to prepare for the training. That training never occurred.
Within an hour and a half, we were essentially "trapped" in that windowless conference room, getting snippets of information, seeing people running up and down the halls crying. Then we got word that the FBI was ordering the building evacuated. We also heard that all flights would be cancelled for at least a couple days. We called the hotel to see if we could get our rooms back, but they were sold out.
When we stepped outside, it was complete pandemonium - a living nightmare. I looked over at the towers. One had collapsed already. The other was fully engulfed. Black smoke filled the sky. The streets were clogged with people walking and driving away from the waterfront. There was no dancing... there was no celebrating... The police were directing thousands of people looking back over their shoulders away from the tall buildings on the waterfront. At that moment in time, there was a clear fear that more strikes were imminent.
We managed to get the cop to allow us to walk toward
the waterfront so that we could get the car. We had only our laptops with us; our overnight bags were in the trunk of the car. We also had nowhere to go, and no cellphone service.
As we inched our way west along the street, and then north towards the way out of town, the second tower fell. The throng of frightened people continued to plod and push and trudge, not knowing what was happening, not knowing where to go, not knowing how to get home.
Jersey City and Manhattan are practically the same, with people living in Jersey City working in Manhattan, and vice-versa. Everyone there knows someone who worked in the twin towers. No one was celebrating.
Not. One. Person.