GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:You raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at your latest rally. I want to show them, relating to 9/11.VIDEO CLIP OF DONALD TRUMP, IN WHICH HE SAYS:“Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. ”STEPHANOPOULOS:“You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you misspeak yesterday? ”TRUMP:“It did happen. I saw it. ”STEPHANOPOULOS:“You saw that…”TRUMP:It was on television. I saw it.STEPHANOPOULOS:“…with your own eyes? ”TRUMP:“George, it did happen. ”STEPHANOPOULOS:“Police say it didn’t happen. ” TRUMP: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. 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. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good. ”STEPHANOPOULOS:“As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen. ” — Exchange on ABC’s “This Week, ” Nov. 22,2015Recommended:Trump says women wear Burqas to avoid wearing makeupThis exchange demonstrates the folly of trying to fact - check Donald Trump. Even when confronted with contrary information — “police say it didn’t happen” — he insists that with his own eyes he saw “thousands and thousands” of cheering Arabs in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks. Trump has already earned more Four - Pinocchio ratings than any other candidate this year. He is about to earn another one.The FactsThis is a bit like writing about the hole in the doughnut — how can you write about nothing? Trump says that he saw this with his own eyes on television and that it was well covered. But an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing. There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey except for unconfirmed reports.(Some conspiracy Web sites have made reference to an MTV broadcast of protests and riots in Paterson, N. J., but this has never been authenticated.) As the Newark Star - Ledger put it in an article on Sept. 18,2001, “rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims here proved unfounded. ” Neither can we find any examples of Trump previously talking about this. Here, for example, is an article in the New York Post interviewing Trump just eight days after the attack; he makes no mention of having witnessed the alleged celebrations. And in a forward for a book titled “Where Were You On 9/11?, ” Trump make no mention of this: “I was in my apartment in the Trump Tower[on the morning of Sept. 11,2001.] I knew what was happening because I can see downtown to the Financial district. ” The mayor of Jersey City, which has 15,000 Muslims, quickly tweeted that Trump’s comments were false: Fulop, who is a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2017, said in a statement that Trump was “shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue. ” He added: “No one in Jersey City cheered on Sept. 11. We were actually among the first to provide responders to help in lower Manhattan. ” George Pataki, the governor of New York at the time and another GOP presidential hopeful, also tweeted this response to Trump’s remarks on ABC: Since Trump on ABC News suggested that celebrations might have happened elsewhere in New Jersey, we also reached out to Jerry Speziale, the police commissioner of Paterson, which has the second - largest Muslim population in the United States — numbering nearly 30,000. He minced few words, even using a barnyard epithet, while giving his response. “That is totally false. That is patently false, ” Speziale said. “That never happened. There were no flags burning, no one was dancing. That is[barnyard epithet]. ” He said the main concern after the attacks was that the U. S. Muslim population would face retaliation, and so law enforcement officials worked with the community to ensure that did not happen. “They’ve been very helpful and law - abiding. ” We asked Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks whether she could provide any evidence for Trump’s claim. As usual, she did not respond.By Glenn Kessler This article originally appeared on the Washington Post