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“Pretending Fiction Is Fact”: Trump, Carson Blame Media For Their Bogus 9/11 Claim

It looked as if Donald Trump’s bizarre lie about 9/11 had run its course, but the Republican presidential campaign apparently wants to keep the discussion going a little longer – even throwing in a conspiratorial twist.

To briefly recap, the GOP frontrunner insists he saw news reports from 9/11 that Trump believes show “thousands and thousands” of Jersey City residents of Middle Eastern descent cheering when the Twin Towers fell. Those reports do not exist, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from repeating the claim, over and over again, in recent days.

Team Trump has had multiple opportunities to walk this back. As TPM noted, it’s instead doing the opposite.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager on Tuesday accused the media of coordinating an elaborate conspiracy to deny the billionaire’s claim that “thousands and thousands” of New Jersey residents cheered the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

 “For the mainstream media to go out and say that this didn’t happen is just factually inaccurate,” Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in an interview with Breitbart News. “We know it happened.”

Right Wing Watch posted the audio of Lewandowski’s comments, in which he pretends fiction is fact.

Trump’s special counsel, Michael Cohen, added on CNN yesterday that his client’s numbers may be off, but that shouldn’t matter. “Whether it’s ‘thousands and thousands’ or a thousand people or even just one person, it’s irrelevant,” he argued, adding, “What’s important is that there are bad people among us.”

Except, that doesn’t make any sense. Trump has argued, repeatedly, that he saw video footage of thousands of people in New Jersey celebrating a devastating terrorist attack. Now his lawyer is saying it could have been one guy and we shouldn’t be too picky about the details, while his campaign manager continues to insist the imaginary video exists, even if no one can find it, and this is all part of a conspiracy to help elect an “establishment candidate,” who’ll be “controlled by the special interests.”

All of this is seen as necessary, of course, to justify Trump’s vision of registering Muslim Americans and spying on houses of worship.

Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump’s bogus claim before changing his mind a few hours later, is also trying to blame news organizations. Politico reported yesterday:

Ben Carson continued to walk back his assertion on Monday night that, like Donald Trump, he also saw video footage of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11, blaming the media in the process for having “an agenda.”

“Well what we were talking about was the reaction of Muslims after the 9/11 attack, and if they were in a celebratory mood,” the retired neurosurgeon and current Republican candidate told Fox News’ “The Kelly File.” “And you know, 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 a film of Muslims celebrating. And I was making the point that it was inappropriate.”

He added that reporters “had an agenda” when they asked about this on Monday.

For the record, here’s the exact transcript Carson is referring to:

Q: Dr. Carson, were American Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11 when the towers fell = did you hear about that or see that?

Carson: Yes.

Q: Yes. Can you expand on that?

Carson: Well, you know, there are going to be people who respond inappropriately to virtually everything. I think that was an inappropriate response. I don’t know if on the basis of that you can say all Muslims are bad people. I really think that would be a stretch.

Q: But did you see that happening though on 9/11?

Carson: I saw the film of it, yes.

Q: In New Jersey?

Carson: Yes.

His staff said a few hours later that Carson was actually referring to video footage from the Middle East, and as of yesterday, the candidate himself is eager to blame the media.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 25, 2015

November 26, 2015 Posted by | 911, Ben Carson, Conspiracy Theories, Donald Trump | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“GOP’s Epic Trainwreck”: Jeb Bush Flails And Donald Trump Ascends As The Party Goes Further Off The Rails

The news keeps getting worse for the Republican Party. Despite its “deep bench” for 2016, Donald Trump continues to dominate in early polling. Yes, that word “early” is important, but this is getting to be humiliating for the GOP – and especially for Jeb Bush.

Not only has Trump led Bush in several national polls, he’s now leading in his home state of Florida, an electoral vote treasure trove that was crucial to Bush’s “story” – that he was the guy who could compete with Hillary Clinton nationally. Trump is also ahead of Bush in recent New Hampshire polls, and catching up to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa.

Maybe most alarmingly for the guy whose passionless and entitled candidacy rested solely on his perceived electability, Jeb! dropped into third place in the latest Quinnipiac poll released Thursday morning, behind Walker.

Republicans like to console themselves by pointing to 2012, when most of the mediocre GOP candidates took a turn running first in the polls. But Donald Trump isn’t Herman Cain.

I’ll admit Trump’s rise, and his persistent lead in the polls, surprises me a little. But it shouldn’t. All the things people think ought to damage him – his attacks on illegal Mexican immigrants and John McCain; his attorney’s claim that marital rape isn’t rape; ugly comments about a breastfeeding attorney – aren’t going to matter to the GOP base. They don’t like immigrants, McCain, feminist talk about “marital rape” or uppity breastfeeding career women.

I suggested Tuesday that Trump might be hurt by attorney Michael Cohen’s bizarre attack on the Daily Beast journalists who unearthed a 1989 Ivana Trump deposition accusing her husband of rape, as well as by his claim that there’s no such crime as marital rape. Indeed, Cohen quickly apologized and Trump moved to distance himself from his close associate and regular campaign surrogate. There was no such reaction to outrage over his comments about McCain or Mexican immigrants. So Trump recognized that he couldn’t brazen through a claim that marital rape doesn’t exist (the attack on journalists wasn’t as big a deal.)

Meanwhile Jeb, the man who was running to save his party from scary guys like Trump, is fading. But maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise, either. It took Bush two weeks to condemn Trump’s remarks about Mexicans who come to this country illegally. He quickly denounced his attacks on John McCain, but he’s been otherwise silent about the threat Trump’s right-wing populism poses to his party and the country. Jeb was supposed to be the guy who was willing “to lose the primary to win the general,” but he hasn’t had the courage, or even the apparent impulse, to go after Trump.

Trump aside, Bush’s campaign has struggled through one self-created mess after another. With attacks on the minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare, the Bush family scion is making Mitt Romney look like a working class hero.

Yes, as I’ve written before, Bush could still be the beneficiary of Trump’s current dominance, as other GOP candidates struggle to get attention. (Nobody but Trump, Walker and Bush topped 6 percent in this latest Q poll.) He’s got a ton of cash, and the support of GOP elites.  But he’s being humiliated by Trump daily.

There are only so many ways to say the GOP made this mess. Party leaders have courted and advanced the Sarah Palins and Donald Trumps of the world. They’ve tolerated and even encouraged anti-Obama birtherism and the ugliest sorts of nativism.  They’ve let the wingnuts hold the debt ceiling hostage and shut down the government. And they’ve accepted their status as a 90 percent white party without doing anything to begin to compete for the votes of African Americans, Latinos or Asians.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the guy who called illegal immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” is leading the field– two thirds of GOP voters in the latest CNN poll said they support the mass deportation of the 11 million immigrants who are here illegally.

The Republican Party is like an old, ramshackle house long neglected by its owners. A crazy squatter moved in, and now they can’t get him out. For now, anyway, it’s Trump’s house.


By: Joan Walsh, Editor at Large, Salon, July 30, 2015

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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