Trump Repeats Misleading Claim that He Warned Nation About Osama Bin Laden

Trump Repeats Misleading Claim that He Warned Nation About Osama Bin Laden

President Trump repeated a hyperbolic claim that we warned the nation about Osama bin Laden before 9/11.

Trump referenced his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” mistakenly saying that he had written that the al-Qaeda leader had to be killed in order to avoid a major terrorist attack.

“A year and a half before the World Trade Center, the book came out,” Trump said at a rambling press conference Sunday at which he announced the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“I was talking about Osama bin Laden. I said, ‘You have to kill him. You have to take him out.’ Nobody listened to me. And to this day I get people coming up to me. They say, ‘You know what, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen about you, is you predicted Osama bin Laden had to be killed before he knocked down the World Trade Center.’ It’s true.”

But in a fact-check, the New York Times called his claim “misleading,” noting how it was “not exactly ahead of its time.”

Here is Trump’s only direct reference to bin Laden in his 304-page book:

“Instead of one looming crisis hanging over us, we face a bewildering series of smaller crises, flash points, standoffs, and hot spots. We’re not playing the chess game to end all chess games anymore. We’re playing tournament chess–one master against many rivals. One day we’re all assured that Iraq is under control, the UN inspectors have done their work, everything’s fine, not to worry. The next day the bombing begins. One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin-Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jetfighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis.”

This is hardly the first time Trump has exaggerated what he had written. In a 2015 interview on the Alex Jones Radio Show he also quoted unidentified people to help support his re-interpretation.

“You better take him out,” Trump said at the time. “And now people are seeing that, they’re saying, ‘You know, Trump predicted Osama bin Laden’ — which is actually true.”

Watch the video above, via CBS News.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.