The Trump Files: Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

 

The Donald is a big admirer of asbestos, the notorious carcinogen that he considers “the greatest fire-proofing material ever used.” He’s so convinced of its powers, in fact, that he thinks a lack of asbestos is the reason the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11.

“If we didn’t remove [the] incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos & replace it with junk that doesn’t work, the World Trade Center would never have burned down,” Trump wrote in a tweet in October 2012. About 400 tons of asbestos reportedly went into the structures before the builders halted its use in 1971, anticipating that the government would soon ban the material.

Trump was repeating an argument he made in front of a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in 2005, when he testified about how quickly and elegantly he could renovate the United Nations building in New York. “A lot of people could say that if the World Trade Center had asbestos it wouldn’t have burned down. It wouldn’t have melted, okay?” he told the senators. Comparing other materials to it, he argued, is “like a heavyweight champion against a lightweight from high school.”

“A lot of people” appears to be a small group of libertarian think-tankers who oppose health and environmental regulations, including the ones against asbestos. Meanwhile, clouds of pulverized asbestos and other carcinogens kicked up on 9/11 may be linked to huge numbers of cancer cases among first responders and Ground Zero workers.

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate