Did Trump claim the 9/11 attacks never happened?

Verdict: False
By Zhuang Jing for Asia Fact Check Lab
2024.02.08
Taipei, Taiwan
Did Trump claim the 9/11 attacks never happened?
Photo: RFA

A video of former U.S. President Donald Trump has been shared on Chinese-language social media claiming that Trump asserted that both the 9/11 attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center never happened.  

But the video has been digitally edited to misrepresent Trump’s remarks. The former president, in fact, said there was “no terrorism” and “no attacks” during his four-year term in office, not that there were no attacks back in 2001.

The claim was shared on a popular Chinese social media platform Weibo on Jan. 29.

“Trump’s speech explodes with shocking inside story: The 9/11 terror attacks were fake, and the World Trade Towers didn’t collapse in an attack,” reads the claim. 

The claim was shared alongside a one-minute and 12-second video clip that appears to show Trump’s Jan. 22 speech.

“Now I talk about it all the time. We had no attacks. We didn’t have a World Trade Center. We didn’t have attacks like you’ve seen,” he says in the video.

The identical video with similar claims has been also published by several state-backed Chinese media outlets such as The Paper and Defense Times.

The same claim also has been circulated in different languages, including English and Italian

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Several official Chinese media outlets and pro-Beijing social media influencers reposted a short video of Trump purportedly saying that the 9/11 terrorist attacks never happened. (Screenshot/Weibo, WeChat, Douyin & X)

But the video has been digitally edited to misrepresent Trump’s remarks. 

Trump’s actual remarks

A combination of keyword and image searches found that the video circulated in social media posts was part of Trump’s Jan. 22 speech in Laconia, New Hampshire.

A close look at the full speech shows Trump, in fact, noted there was “no terrorism” and “no attacks” during his four years in office, attributing a large part of the achievement to the “terror ban” he enacted through a series of executive actions beginning in 2017. 

“When I was there, for years, I wanted to talk so much; we had no terrorism, we had no attacks, we had nothing,” he said at the video’s 23-minute and 30-second mark.

He went on to say: “We had no attacks. We didn’t have a World Trade Center. We didn’t have the attacks like you’ve seen.”

Trump’s tenure as president ran from Jan. 20, 2017 until Jan. 20, 2021, while 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

The claim about Trump’s remarks has also been debunked by other fact-checking organizations, including Snopes.

Additionally, Reference News, alongside other China’s state-controlled media outlets, confirmed that Trump’s remarks had been misinterpreted.

Translated by Shen Ke. Edited by Taejun Kang and Malcolm Foster.

Asia Fact Check Lab (AFCL) was established to counter disinformation in today’s complex media environment. We publish fact-checks, media-watches and in-depth reports that aim to sharpen and deepen our readers’ understanding of current affairs and public issues. If you like our content, you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X.

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