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

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

 

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.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.