Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is so determined to prove that American Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks that he used an MTV clip debunking his claim as supporting evidence.
Trump on Tuesday morning posted a clip from a 2001 MTV News report in which Curtis Sliwa, the radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels, described people “cheering” at the news that the Twin Towers had been toppled:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2015
But that 11-second clip cut out key information.
MTV did interview New Jersey residents who claimed to have seen such incidents in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, including a young Paterson resident named Emily Acevedo. Acevedo said at the time that she witnessed a group of teenagers shouting “burn America.”
The MTV report was recently cited by conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel as proof that Trump was correct about the cheering, prompting the network to release a repackaged video titled “Trump Is Wrong About People ‘Cheering’ 9/11 In New Jersey—Here’s The Evidence.” The original footage is accompanied by a follow-up interview with Acevedo, who now denies that the kids she saw were saying “burn America.” Instead, Acevedo said they were just behaving like teenagers would “on any other summer night.”
The repackaged MTV report appears to be the video from which Trump grabbed the clip he said supported his claim. Sliwa called Trump out for it on Twitter, pointing out that the footage was edited:
— Curtis Sliwa (@CurtisSliwa) December 1, 2015
Last week, Sliwa wrote on his Facebook page that Trump incorrectly implied that video of groups of people in the Middle East cheering the attacks actually took place in the U.S. Sliwa wrote that the video actually came from “the West Bank of Palestine, not the East Bank of the Hudson River!”
Though footage of a small gathering of Palestinians celebrating in the West Bank was captured by Reuters journalists, no such video of comparable incidents occurring in the United States exists. As TPM previously reported, a smatter of contemporaneous news reports mentioned rumors of New Jersey residents celebrating the attacks but none of them were substantiated.
Watch the full re-released MTV report below: