The controversy over Donald Trump’s assertion that Muslims in New Jersey were cheering on Sept. 11, 2001, as the World Trade Center towers burned and fell has taken another turn.
MTV, which conducted a video interview days after the attack in which a teenager, Emily Acevedo, from Paterson, N.J., claimed to have seen teens in her city – which has one of the nation’s largest Muslim populations – celebrating, released a new video featuring an updated interview with her.
In the new footage, which seeks to examine the GOP presidential candidate’s claim, Acevedo instead dismisses the idea that she had seen youths celebrating because of the terrorist attacks.
She also denies saying things the original video shows her saying.
MTV named its new video: “Trump Is Wrong About People ‘Cheering' 9/11 in New Jersey — Here's the Evidence.”
In the original interview, Acevedo walked outside her home and pointed to a spot where she said she saw about youths about 13 years old celebrating by hitting public property with sticks and rocks and chanting, “Burn, America!”
Acevedo said she saw “a lot of people, and they were just chanting and raving, and I noticed they were holding things. They were holding, like, rocks and sticks. And they were saying, ‘Burn America.’”
“Everyone that was out there, they were only 13, maybe 14 at the most,” Acevedo said in 2001. "They were kids. They didn’t know what they were doing. But they had so much hate, and they were doing that. It was just so sad.”
But in the new video released by MTV, a now grown-up Acevedo says she does not recall the teens saying “Burn, America,” and that their behavior that day was not much different than what she saw kids at the time do after school during warm weather.
“For me, it was just ‘Oh, here’s a bunch of kids acting out, they don’t know any better,’” she said.
Acevedo has never described the kids’ ethnicity or religion, several experts have noted.
Rumors of celebrations in Arab and Muslim communities in Jersey City and Paterson cropped up in the days after the 2001 attacks, but attempts by various news organizations to confirm them failed.
Trump has cited a few articles and TV coverage that mentioned celebrations, but some of those news organizations say they reported the allegations, but did not come across evidence that the celebrations happened.
Trump brought up the alleged celebrations following the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris while making an argument in favor of keeping a registry of Muslims.
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