WASHINGTON — If he’s elected president, Donald Trump promises to reveal long withheld details about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Speaking at a Feb. 10 rally in Bluffton, South Carolina, the GOP candidate declared: “It wasn’t the Iraqis that knocked down the World Trade Center.”
“You will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center” if he’s president, he said, “because they have papers in there that are very secret. You may find it’s the Saudis, okay, but you will find out it wasn’t Iraq.”
Watch “Donald Trump: ‘Saudis Brought Down World Trade Center’” From Mediaite:
Although he didn’t specify it during the speech, Trump is likely alluding to 28 classified pages of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” a report produced by both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in December 2012. The subject of a growing movement demanding their release, some evidence suggests the censored pages may point to Saudi involvement in the attacks.
Trump’s statement led to renewed criticism from supporters of other GOP candidates. “I thought Trump really exposed himself as a truther and I don’t think that will play real well in South Carolina,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, who has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, during a Feb. 13 appearance on “The Tara Show.”
And Tommy Christopher, writing on Thursday for Mediaite, attacked Trump’s credibility by suggesting he was “[n]o longer content to challenge Jeb Bush‘s assertion that his brother ‘kept us safe,’” and so was now alluding conspiratorially to “the wheels within the wheels.”
Christopher added: “Although 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi nationals, no evidence has ever been presented that the government of Saudi Arabia was behind the attacks of 9/11.”
David Weigel, an election correspondent for The Washington Post, noted that this strategy is frequently employed against Republicans who criticize the official government narrative about the attacks. “Trump is being subjected to a truther-ization that should be familiar to anyone who criticizes the Bush administration’s pre-9/11 counterterrorism efforts, or pre-9/11 foreign policy more generally,” he wrote, adding that Rep. Ron Paul was faced with similar attacks for criticizing the Iraq War.
While Trump may be telling the truth about the missing 28 pages, it’s not the only time he’s been accused of concocting stories about 9/11, and other accusations may have more merit. During the latest Republican presidential debate, Trump claimed “hundreds” of his friends died in the attacks, a claim called into question by The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
And on Wednesday, The Smoking Gun revealed that not only did he lie about donating $500,000 to 9/11 charities, Trump actually received a government payout from the attacks:
“As reported by the New York Daily News in January 2006, the Trump firm that owns the office tower at 40 Wall Street applied for a grant from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the New York state agency that distributed federal money earmarked for small businesses.
Trump’s company received a $150,000 check to cover losses incurred at the 72-story building, which is several blocks east of the World Trade Center site.”
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