[There was a video here]

Asked in tonight’s debate to elaborate on his earlier declaration that the United States should murder the families of terrorists, Donald Trump pivoted to a discourse on the events of 9/11. As with most of Trump’s remarks about the events of 2001 and beyond, it was a collage of the unorthodox, the insane, and the awful but not untrue.

He began by talking about “when a family flies into the World Trade Center,” then amended that to talking about a man flying into the World Trade Center, a man whose “family gets sent back to where they were going.”

“By the way,” Trump said, “it wasn’t Iraq, but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening.”

By “certain territory,” Trump is referring to Saudi Arabia. The majority of the 9/11 hijackers were, in fact, Saudis, but they were not known to be married, and certainly not married to anyone who was living in the United States near the time of the attacks.

Trump continued: “They left two days early with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House.”

Something weird happened to the plurals as Trump was talking—one family watched one husband flying planes at three separate targets? What started as a story about one hijacker mutated into a story about all of the hijackers at once, or perhaps a story about the people behind the hijackers. Somewhere in there appear to be the bones of the old false rumor that the extended bin Laden family was secretly evacuated from the United States immediately after the attacks, while airspace was closed to everyone else.

This is all crackpot conspiracy stuff. Except for the impolite truth that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by a Saudi mastermind using Saudi personnel, after which the United States opened multifront retaliatory war against anyone but Saudi Arabia.