Donald Trump lives in a different world than you or I. That is part of his popularity; he wastes no time on what is true or what is false, but simply declares that the world is what he says it is, and that the people he has declared to be evil are evil, and this is very comforting to other people who believe the same things and don't like candidates or books or news reports or Wikipedia or their Bibles or scientists who might have the gall to point out that some of those things are not true.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” he told a crowd in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday. “And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.”
No news reports exist of people cheering in the streets, and both police officials and the mayor of Jersey City have said that it did not happen.
There are two possibilities here. One, that Donald Trump is making it up because he is the sort of paranoid xenophobe that very, very much wants to see a conspiracy of thousands of people in America who hate America and want to do harm to it. Or two, it really did happen and everyone has just blocked it from their memories and erased the tapes and burned the police reports because argle-bargle, and so on:
“It did happen, I saw it,” Mr. Trump said. “It was on television. I saw it.”
When reminded that police said it didn’t happen, Mr. Trump again insisted that he saw it.
“I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something,” he said. “It was well covered at the time, George.”
How deep is the conspiracy? By gum, it's only a few podiums over!
“I think if it had happened, I would remember it,” Mr. Christie said.
If you are a normal person, you may be considering this to be evidence that Mr. Donald Trump is at least a little bit insane. He's claiming to have witnessed something that did not happen, claiming it was on television at the time, and claiming that the entire rest of the world isn't backing him up on this one because of an ongoing worldwide conspiracy to pretend it never happened. This is not normal behavior.
But to his base, this is precisely what makes Donald Trump so special. He says Mexican immigrants are mostly drug dealers and rapists; the base has long believed this, and has been aching for candidates who would come out and make it America's officially recognized reality. The base is pretty damn sure thousands of secret Muslim terrorists have infiltrated New Jersey; here's a man who claims he's seen the tapes, even if the rest of you don't actually remember it. Whether it can be proved or disproved is irrelevant; if a politician wants to claim that the Arizona desert is littered with the decapitated heads of drug cartel enemies or that there are tunnels under certain big-box stores that lead to secret detainment camps then the base will orgasm with delight at the affirmation of those long-held suspicions. Damn the evidence; evidence doesn't release the right endorphins.
Expect it now to become common knowledge among Trump supporters that crowds of thousands of New Jersey residents were cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. It feels too good—too terrifying, too conspiratorial, too violence-minded—to not be true.