The humdrum proceedings of NBC's "Meet the Press" received a jolt on Sunday after usually staid host Chuck Todd briefly railed against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump about the importance of honesty in politics. Sparring over Trump's recent disproved claims that Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Todd tried to get the real estate mogul-turned-candidate to recant.
"Mr. Trump, this didn't happen in New Jersey," the host said to an unflinching Trump, who was beamed into the studio via phone.
"But they want to agree with you, that doesn't make it true!" Todd said. Trump interrupted Todd and repeated claims that Muslims all over the world, including the Garden State, expressed joy at the terror attacks.
"Just because somebody repeats something doesn't mean it's true," Todd said as Trump rolled on.
After some nervous laughter, Todd decided to push on even as Trump spoke over him.
"Mr. Trump, if I said, well people have said Mr. Trump's not worth $10 billion, you would say that was crazy, you wouldn't make a business deal based on retweets and based on hearsay!"
Trump's voice rumbled on underneath Todd's.
“You’re running for president of the United States!” Todd said. “Your words matter! Truthfulness matters! Fact-based stuff matters!"
"Take it easy, Chuck," Trump finally cut in. "Play cool [sic]."
Trump has been rebuked by many after he went out on a media limb and implicated an unspecified group of American Muslims from New Jersey as al Qaeda sympathizers, citing a "TV clip" from 2001 unsupported by any reports from the area and the time.
The candidate upped the ante on Tuesday by telling a crowd he has a special gift that allows him to predict terrorist attacks before they happen.
"I can feel it," he said.