Donald Trump crumbled and fell apart on Meet The Press after Chuck Todd relentlessly pressed the Republican frontrunner for evidence to support his 9/11 conspiracy theory.
Transcript via Meet The Press:
CHUCK TODD: All right. Well, let’s back up here a minute. Let’s go to this Jersey City comment. You said you saw this. Nobody can find evidence of this. And, more importantly, the article that you tweeted out that’s backed you up, that in itself, there were three or four different reports that month in New Jersey that said it was a myth that was spread, that it was a false rumor. F.B.I., you name it. Where did you see this?
DONALD TRUMP: Chuck, I saw it on television. So did many other people. And many–
CHUCK TODD: In Jersey City–
DONALD TRUMP: –many people. I said hundreds. In the area. I–
CHUCK TODD: –you saw during Jersey City? Okay.
DONALD TRUMP: –heard Patterson. Excuse me. I’ve heard Jersey City. I’ve heard Patterson. It was 14 years ago. But I saw it on television. I saw clips. And so did many other people. And many people saw it in person. I’ve had hundreds of phone calls to the Trump Organization saying, “We saw it. It was dancing in the streets.” Now, by the way The Washington Post I tried to pull back, but the Washington Post reported tailgate parties and reports of tailgate parties.
Tailgate parties means, like, for a football game where you have hundreds and hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of people having tailgate parties. I saw it at the time. I stick by it. Hundreds of people have confirmed it.
CHUCK TODD: This didn’t happen in New Jersey. There were plenty of reports. And you’re feeding that stereotype.
DONALD TRUMP: Chuck, it did happen in New Jersey. I have hundreds of people that agree with me.
CHUCK TODD: But they want to agree with you that doesn’t make it true.
DONALD TRUMP: Chuck, you have a huge Muslim population over there. And that’s fine. But you have a huge Muslim population, between Patterson and different places and Jersey City, an unbelievable large population. If they’re going to be doing it at soccer games, if they’re going to be doing it all around the world, it was being done.
When the Trade Center came down, it was done all around the world. And you know that because that has been reported very strongly. Why wouldn’t it have taken place? I’ve had hundreds of people call in and tweet in on Twitter, saying that they saw it, and I was 100% right.
Now, the Washington Post also wrote about tailgate parties. We’re looking for other articles. And we’re looking for other clips. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we found them, Chuck. But for some reason, they’re not that easy to come by. I saw it. So many people saw it, Chuck. And, so, why would I take it back? I’m not going to take it back.
CHUCK TODD: Well just because somebody repeats something doesn’t make it true. And I guess that’s actually–
DONALD TRUMP: Chuck, I’ve had hundreds. I don’t mean I had two calls, Chuck. Even yesterday, I was in Sarasota, Florida. And people were saying they lived in Jersey, they–
CHUCK TODD: People weren’t saying. If I said people–
DONALD TRUMP: –moved down to Florida because taxes are a lot lower in Florida. They told me there that they saw it.
CHUCK TODD: Mr. Trump. If I said, “Well, people have said Mr. Trump’s net worth is $10 billion,” you would say that was crazy. You wouldn’t make a business deal–
DONALD TRUMP: But that’s a very different. It’s much different.
CHUCK TODD: –based on re-tweets and based on hearsay. You’re running for president of the United States. Your words matter. Truthfulness matters. Fact-based stuff matters.
DONALD TRUMP: Take it easy, Chuck. Just play cool….
Donald Trump is selling himself as a big bad dealmaker who will get things done in Washington, but he couldn’t handle Chuck Todd questioning him with facts.
Trump was so far on the defensive that he tried to get Todd to calm down, even though the Meet The Press host was clearly not upset. Chuck Todd has been rightly criticized for his performance in the past, but during the Trump interview he did something that more members of the media should emulate.
Chuck Todd demanded facts and pressed Trump to back up his claims with evidence. Donald Trump doesn’t have any evidence of Muslims tailgating and celebrating in the streets of New Jersey. All he has is a memory of something that he thinks he saw on television almost 15 years ago.
If Trump wins the nomination, it will be a disaster for the Republican Party. If Donald Trump can’t handle Chuck Todd, he is completely unfit to be president.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association