Trump in 2005: Build ‘Freedom Tower’ and ‘the Terrorists Win’

The Donald wanted to rebuild the Twin Towers and said if the now-complete World Trade Center was built, “the terrorists win.”

09.11.15 3:49 PM ET

Donald Trump seems to think the terrorists won 9/11.

The reality television alum and Republican presidential frontrunner is never coy. And the verve with which he expresses his opinions on all issues of import—Katy Perry’s relationships, windmills in Scotland, tattoos—is no less strong when discussing the building that replaced the World Trade Center.

On May 13, 2005, he and Chris Matthews had a frank chat on Hardball about 1 World Trade Center, then-called the “Freedom Tower,” and Trump said that if it got built, then the terrorists could truly declare victory.

Matthews opened the segment by querying the mogul about Lower Manhattan’s apparent emptiness. 

“[E]very time I fly over Manhattan I see basically an amputated Battery area,” Matthews said. “The bottom of the island looks amputated. I see the missing towers. Is that a better monument than the Freedom Towers, just not having anything?”

As far as Trump was concerned, the answer to that question was yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.

“I’d rather have nothing than what they’re building, Chris,” he said. “It’s a terrible design. It was designed by an egghead architect who really doesn’t have a lot of experience of designing something like this.”

“And not only the Freedom Tower, the buildings around it,” Trump continued. “It looks like a junkyard.  And it shouldn’t be built. And instead of not being built, they’re pushing forward to get it built faster. And I mean, frankly, I’d rather see nothing than see that pile of junk.”

Here’s the kicker:

“If we build this job the way it is, the terrorists win,” he said. “If we rebuild the World Trade Center, but a story taller and stronger, then we win. I mean, I don’t want to have the terrorists win, Chris. And that’s what’s going to happen if we build this pile of junk.”

Trump’s spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether—given that the Freedom Tower got built—he feels the terrorists won.

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On his distaste for the tower, Trump is nothing if not consistent. In November of 2008, according to the New York Post, the mogul said the tower “could be a catastrophe for New York” and that nobody would want to use it because the city had too much office space already. On May 19, 2005, CNN reported that Trump called the building “the worst pile of crap architecture I have ever seen in my life.”

On September 13, 2003, the New York Post reported that Trump called the structure’s design a “monstrosity of garbled nonsense.”

The family members of 9/11 victims gathered this morning to commemorate their lost loved ones in the shadow of that in the shadow of that “garbled nonsense.”