On September 11, 2001, I was listening to the radio as I drove down Massachusetts Avenue from my apartment in Cleveland Park to my office in the Hart Senate Office Building, where I was serving as the press secretary to a senator from New Jersey. 

There was what sounded like an inconsequential bulletin about a plane that had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers and my reaction, as the reaction of so many, was slight irritation at pilots who did not know how to accurately navigate their planes.  

I parked my car in the Hart garage and went upstairs, where to my further annoyance I found several staffers crowded around the television set in my office.  And then everything changed.

There are three memories I have of that particular day:  The first is the cerulean sky under which its events took place.

Jersey City was then, and continues to be today, incredibly diverse, with a large Muslim community. Had there been any evidence that so many people were publicly celebrating the downing of the Twin Towers in Jersey City, the press and our constituents would have noticed it and would have called our office.

The second is the twitch I developed in my left eye that appeared suddenly in the early afternoon and mysteriously stuck around for the next several days, never to reappear. 

The last are the long hours I spent inside the Capitol Police station with several hundred members of the House and Senate.

The senator and I spent almost every minute together that day, until, much later, his driver took us back to his house through empty streets, past a helicopter landing on the South Lawn of the White House and the view of a smoldering Pentagon across the Potomac.

Aside from New York City, no place suffered the trauma of that day more than New Jersey.  It was the state in which I grew up, in which I lived and for which I worked.  And if there were any unclassified, unusual events going on in New Jersey that day or in ensuing days, I would have known, because our charge was to work in New Jersey’s interest and to be aware of what was going on in the state.

And so I can say with no uncertainty whatsoever that there was no indication whatsoever of thousands of Muslims celebrating in the streets of New Jersey’s second largest city that day. 

Jersey City was then, and continues to be today, incredibly diverse, with a large Muslim community.  Had there been any evidence that so many people were publicly celebrating the downing of the Twin Towers in Jersey City, the press and our constituents would have noticed it and would have called our office. 

No one ever called, because it never happened.

Today, that feeling of vulnerability, which never really went away, has resurfaced. The leading Republican presidential candidate is insisting that thousands of Muslims were celebrating the nation’s worst terrorist act in the streets fourteen years ago, despite the fact that no video or contemporaneous evidence exists Not one public official, or anyone who worked for any public official, can corroborate his claim. 

Some of his supporters are actually claiming that there is a conspiracy to hide this evidence, as though a nation that went to war against those who were responsible for 9/11 – and also against those who weren’t – would inexplicably come together to cover up an outrageous act such as this.

There certainly were people cheering the events of September 11.  But Donald Trump, who has developed at least one high rise in Jersey City, would presumably know the difference between New Jersey and the Gaza Strip.

Julie Roginsky has extensive experience in government, politics and public relations on both the federal and state levels. She is the president of Comprehensive Communications Group, a public relations and crisis communications firm that counts Fortune 500 corporations, elected officials and non-profit organizations among its clients. Follow her on Twitter @JulieRoginsky.