Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani isn’t saying Donald Trump is right about his unambiguous claim that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” in Jersey on 9/11. But he’s also not saying that Donald Trump isn’t not right. And to back up his timorous show of support, Giuliani trotted out a straight-up hate crime as an example.
On CNN earlier this morning, Giuliani noted that while thousands might be a bit a much, there were “pockets of celebration.” He even had an anecdote to prove it:
We had one situation in which a candy store owned by a Muslim family was celebrating that day, right near a housing development. And the kids in the housing development came in and beat them up.
And, I think both facts were corroborated to be true. Because they were celebrating that the towers were coming down, some of the kids got really upset about it and they came in and did a pretty good job of beating them up.
How exactly do you “corroborate to be true” a second-hand account of someone celebrating 9/11? Great question. Mediaite found a first-hand account of the actual incident from several days after the 9/11 attacks, as written up in the New York Daily News:
Yesterday I saw first-hand how anger over the World Trade Center attack turns on Muslims who call New York home. At 4:30 p.m. on 116th St., five black teenagers stopped in front of the American Muslim Community of East Harlem site - a closet-sized candy store with a make-shift mosque in a back room. Tiny store owner Muhammad Chaudhry stood in the doorway. One of the teenage boys asked him, “Do you feel sorry for America?”
The kid then gave Chaudhry a knock-out punch in the face that sent him reeling backwards and onto the floor. Blood spurted all over his plaid shirt, the linoleum floor and a pair of sneakers left by a man who was praying. Chaudhry’s dentures cracked in two. As bystanders helped Chaudhry to a chair and got him some paper towels, the kids took off north across 116th Street. Despite an all-out effort to track down the puncher, cops and witnesses couldn’t find him.
So judging from what we actually know, Giuliani took a story of a violent hate crime, watered it down, and used the tempered remains to corroborate Donald Trump’s own version of the day. All while still noting that “...I don’t think it happened. He keeps saying it did. I don’t want to say he’s not telling the truth about it.”
The fact that we are still having this conversation weeks later is insane, but the fact that anyone is even entertaining Donald Trump’s Jersey fever dream as a possibility is, to put it lightly, categorically absurd.