Former U.S. President Donald Trump said the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were not the work of terrorists, alluding to an "inside job" conspiracy theory, while making remarks in front of a crowd at a campaign rally in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Jan. 22, 2024.
Trump mentioned the World Trade Center during the speech, but did not say or imply that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job," as some users alleged on X (formerly Twitter). When his remarks are viewed in their full context, it's clear that he was simply saying that during his time as president, the U.S. did not suffer a terrorist attack on a scale comparable to the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
On Jan. 24, 2024, users on X (formerly Twitter) began sharing a brief, out-of-context video clip from a speech that former U.S. President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail ahead of the November election. The speech was delivered at a rally in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Jan. 22, 2024, one day before his victory in the state's Republican primary.
The users on X who made the false claim – whether due to accidental misinterpretations or as purposeful disinformation – said the video clip showed Trump saying that the 9/11 attacks had not been carried out by terrorists and were instead the work of the U.S. government as an "inside job" – a phrase typed by users on X, not said by Trump.
The Facts About 9/11
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were carried out by the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida and were the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The official death toll was set at 2,977 people, though the exact number of victims was not definitively known.
Since 9/11, the events of that day have been the subject of so-called "9/11 Truth" conspiracy theories that falsely allege, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government and corporate interests. Snopes has reported at length about the many 9/11 conspiracy theories that persist to this day.
False Posts About Trump's Speech
As an example of the posts that were being shared with the false claim, one user on X posted (archived) the video clip with the caption, "WTC 9/11 was an inside job!!!! For the first time, a powerful politician officially speaks the painful truth for all Americans."
Other posts that received either hundreds or thousands of reposts and likes made the same false claim about the 9/11 terrorist attacks but did not specifically use the words "inside job." Several of the posts were written in languages other than English. It's possible that the brevity of the video clip coupled with some users posting in a language other than English may have played a role in the false claim being shared about Trump's remarks, meaning that some users who might not be completely familiar with the English language may have read from an unhelpful and perhaps inaccurate translation of Trump's remarks.
The Context of Trump's Remarks
Despite all of these false posts, a video of Trump's complete remarks from the speech showed that his mention of the World Trade Center was simply a factual statement that the U.S. did not suffer a terrorist attack on the scale of the events of 9/11 during his time as president. At no time did he say that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an "inside job" or were the work of anyone other than terrorists.
Snopes transcribed the context of Trump's remarks. The bolded portion was not included in the video clips that were shared on X:
... the Trump travel ban, which really kept us safe. You know, when I was there four years, I wanted to talk so much. We had no terrorism. We had no attacks. We had nothing. And I want... we had the Trump travel ban. We call it the terror ban, right? We wanted to stop terror from coming into our country. But I couldn't talk about it because I didn't want to do that and then the following day something happens. So I went four years keeping my mouth shut on that particular subject. But now I talk about it all the time. We had no attacks. We didn't have a World Trade Center. We didn't have the attacks like you've seen and certainly that you see in other countries. And by the way now we're getting involved again in the Middle East. Look what's happening. You're getting involved... here we go again with the Middle East.
The transcribed remarks above begin at the 24:10 mark in this YouTube video that includes Trump's full speech:
For further reading, we previously reported about a rumor that claimed Trump and hundreds of his own paid workers searched through the rubble at ground zero in New York.
“Donald Trump Delivers Remarks at a Campaign Event in Laconia, NH.” YouTube, The National Desk, 22 Jan. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR1EMOxdzzs.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “How Many People Were Killed in the September 11 Attacks?” Brittanica.com, https://www.britannica.com/question/How-many-people-were-killed-in-the-September-11-attacks.
---. “QAnon | Meaning, Beliefs, & Conspiracy Theory.” Brittanica.com, https://www.britannica.com/topic/QAnon.
MacGuill, Dan. “How 9/11 Heralded Decades of Internet Conspiracy Theories.” Snopes, 10 Sept. 2021, https://www.snopes.com/news/2021/09/10/september-11-conspiracy-theories/.
Palma, Bethania. “Was Donald Trump at Ground Zero Searching for Survivors Two Days After 9/11 with Workers He Paid For?” Snopes, 11 Sept. 2018, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-searching-911-survivors/.
Ramer, Holly, et al. “Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary as Rematch with Biden Appears Increasingly Likely.” The Associated Press, 23 Jan. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/trump-new-hampshire-primary-two-candidate-race-72a59c4133879eaeec63d6ed30e91e01.