After telling reporters that he “saw the film” of American Muslims in New Jersey cheering on Sept. 11, 2001, Ben Carson walked back his comments and said he was unsure of where the footage of celebrations was taken.
Donald Trump recently surfaced the debunked rumors that on 9/11 “thousands” of New Jersey residents cheered during the attack. And when asked on Monday, Carson said that he saw the newsreels of the alleged celebrations in New Jersey.
Later in the day, Carson’s campaign told ABC News that the candidate did not mean to say he saw cheering in New Jersey, but that he meant to refer to celebrations in the Middle East.
Carson camp says he doesn’t stand behind comments & apologizes.Was thinking of Middle East, not New Jersey,camp says https://t.co/JVHh7VAYvt
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) November 23, 2015
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly followed up with Carson on Monday night, asking if he wanted to walk back his comments publicly.
“Well, what we were talking about is the reaction of Muslims after the 9/11 attack and if they were in a celebratory mood,” Carson told Kelly. “I was really focusing on that it was an inappropriate thing to do, no matter where they were. They asked me did I see the film. I did see the film. I don’t know where they were. But I did see the film of Muslims celebrating.”
“It’s important whether these are American Muslims in New Jersey verses folks over in Iran or the Middle East,” Kelly said in response. “That’s a much different story. So you admit to a lack of caution in answering that question?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Carson responded. “I thought we were just talking about the fact that Muslims were inappropriately celebrating. I didn’t know that they had an agenda behind the question.”
The Fox host told Carson that the reporters were asking if Carson agreed with claims made by Donald Trump. The retired neurosurgeon said that he hadn’t been aware of Trump’a comments.
“Do you believe his claim?” Kelly asked. “Do you mean to provide him with backup on his claim that he saw thousands of Americans in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11?”
“No. It had nothing to do with him or his claims,” Carson replied. “It really was more of a misunderstanding of what we were talking about and me trying to make the point that celebrating that is totally inappropriate, no matter where you are.”
Watch Kelly’s interview with Carson via Fox News: