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How Trump Learned to Make 9/11 a Racket

Donald and Melania Trump commemorating 9/11 this morning. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump’s commemoration of 9/11 today included the usual patriotic brio featured at such events, but also one awkward moment. The president threatened the Taliban, “And if for any reason, they come back to our country, we will go wherever they are, and use power, the likes of which the United States has never used before.”

It was Trump himself who invited them to come back to our country. The president had tried to give the Taliban leadership the honor of a visit to Camp David. The deal, which makes a great deal of sense in principle, collapsed because Trump “wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be,” the New York Times reported. The Taliban wanted the deal to be struck before the visit, while Trump needed to position himself as its author, the point being to create the same kind of Trump-branded diplomatic accomplishment he has tried to forge with North Korea’s faux disarmament.

boast that he now had the tallest building in Manhattan. Over time, though, he gravitated toward the Obama-era racist frenzy enveloping the right. Trump promoted the lie that Muslim-Americans in New Jersey cheered the attacks (and has never withdrawn the slander.) He gave vocal support to a right-wing campaign to prevent a Muslim cultural center from opening in lower Manhattan, on the absurd grounds that it was a “victory mosque” commemorating the successful attack. “I think it’s very insensitive to build it there,” he said, flouting his customary disdain for sensitivity. When asked if linking a Muslim cultural center with the 9/11 attacks meant the country was at war with Islam as a whole, Trump replied, in toto, “Well, somebody knocked down the World Trade Center.”

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