MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Donald Trump has long claimed he has the ability to properly predict world events, including the rise of Osama bin Laden and the destabilization of the Middle East.
"Another thing that I predicted is terrorism," Trump told a crowd of several thousand people. Trump said this prediction was made in one of his books, and his foresight was recently pointed out by a "very political" friend. "Because I can feel it. My father always used to say ... everything you touch just turns to gold, and he's got a great sense of location and business and things."
During a speech that lasted more than 75 minutes, Trump hammered on his usual campaign-trail talking points, with a heavy emphasis on bringing more jobs back to the United States and fighting Islamic State terrorists. Trump told the crowd he predicted the threat of bin Laden in one of his books, published more than a year before the 9/11 attacks. Trump says if bin Laden was taken out at that point, the attacks on the World Trade Center would not have happened.
"I saw he was making trouble. He had a big mouth, and he was talking," Trump said. "Not that I know, but I watch, and I see, and I wrote. ... That's what it's about: It's about vision, folks. It's about vision. If we took him out, if we took him out, we would have two beautiful buildings standing there instead of one okay building, all right? We would have two beautiful buildings standing there right now. We should have taken him out."
Trump said bin Laden ultimately would not have been killed in 2011 if the United States did not use waterboarding, the controversial interrogation technique that the Obama administration considers torture and no longer uses. An exhaustive 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report deemed that harsh interrogation measures like waterboarding do not work and did not produce breakthrough intelligence in the hunt for bin Laden, assertions that the CIA and former officers vehemently dispute. Trump has said he would resume waterboarding and approve even more aggressive techniques.
In discussing Islamic State terrorists, Trump said he doesn't understand why President Obama refuses to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorists." A man in the crowd shouted: "He's one of them!"
"You can't defeat somebody unless you're willing to call them by the name -- that's the name, whether we like it or not," Trump said. "I know Muslim people, they're phenomenal people, but there's a problem in there... We do have to look at the mosques, very carefully. The mosques, a lot of things are happening in there, folks. A lot of things. A lot of things."
For a fourth straight day, Trump continued to claim to have watched a large number of Muslims in New Jersey cheering, tailgating and "dancing in the streets" on 9/11, an urban myth that was discredited by state officials years ago. Trump said evidence of these celebrations exists, but "the liberal media" are hiding it. Trump said he has also received "hundreds of phone calls" from people who say they, too, saw the celebrations.
"I could have said: 'Oh, I misspoke.' I'm not big on that, am I? I'm not big on apologies," Trump said. "You know what? There's nothing wrong with an apology, but you have to be wrong. I believe in apologizing, but you have to be wrong."
The rally wasn't all doomsday. Sitting in the audience Tuesday night were members of Trump's family, including his wife, in-laws, two daughters and 9-year-old son. Melania Trump, his wife, briefly addressed the crowd, telling them her husband would be a great president. Trump mocked some of his rivals and criticized anyone who has to use a teleprompter. At one point, Trump invited onto the stage a guy in the audience who dressed up like him.
"This is what I call a real supporter," Trump said. "Wow. Thank you, man. Are you married?"
The guy nodded and pointed out his wife in the audience.
"Are you happy with your husband?" Trump asked. "She said yes! She fantasizes that he's really the real Donald Trump."