At a Nov. 23 campaign rally in Ohio, Donald Trump doubled down on earlier statements that thousands of New Jersey Muslims had big, public celebrations while they watched the twin towers collapse on Sept. 11, 2001.
Despite police and other New Jersey officials publicly denying his claims and the absence of any found news reports detailing this, Trump stands by his statement, NPR reports.
"Now, I know they don't like to talk about it, but it was well-covered at the time," Trump told ABC News' "This Week" on Nov. 22, according to NPR. "There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good."
Many New Jersey officials have disputed Trump's claims, including Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, who said that it was "shameful that he's politicizing 9/11 ... from our standpoint you really gotta question where he's coming from."
Trump blamed it on the media trying to discredit him.
"The reporters are calling all day, all night ... they want to find out did Trump make a mistake," the real estate mogul told the Nov. 23 rally audience.
He went on to read a 14-year-old Washington Post article, released a week after 9/11.
"Within hours of two jetliners plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks," Trump said, reading from the article.
The article does not specifically mention what Trump was talking about, but he went on to emphasize another portion of the story:
"And holding tailgate style — tailgate! You know what that means? Tailgate! That means football games, Ohio State. Thousands of people, in parking lots, on roofs. Tailgate is a lot of people."
Frederick Kunkle and Serge Kovaleski, the two reporters who wrote the original story, recently said that they never found the people alleged to have celebrated the tragedy.
“I specifically visited the Jersey City building and neighborhood where the celebrations were purported to have happened," Kunkle told the Washington Post. "But I could never verify that report.”