The campaign of Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has walked back comments he made about reports of Muslim-Americans in New Jersey cheering amid the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on US soil.
When an ABC News reporter asked Carson whether American Muslims were “cheering” as the World Trade Center buildings fell, he answered affirmatively, citing “newsreels” from that day.
The question from the ABC reporter came after Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, said at a weekend rally that in Jersey City he saw “thousands and thousands of people … cheering as that building was coming down.”
But later in the day Monday, Carson’s campaign said the retired neurosurgeon had been mistaken.
“Dr. Carson does not stand behind the statement attributed to him early today regarding events surrounding 9/11. He does not believe Muslim Americans in New Jersey were celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers,” Doug Watts, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.
“Rather he recalls the ample news footage of crowds in the Middle East celebrating the tragic events of 9/11,” Watts continued. “He found their jubilation inappropriate and disturbing, but did not and does not consider it representative of the Muslim American population or the Muslim population at-large.”
After Trump’s comments over the weekend, fact-checkers cast doubt on his claims his claims. Many of them noted that while there were some media reports about police questioning people who were suspected of celebrating the attacks, the reports were never verified.
PolitiFact wrote, in a “Pants on Fire” ruling, that there is no evidence the investigations revealed any celebrations.
Still, Trump stood by his claims.
He tweeted on Monday:
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