After 9/11, Trump suggested using chemicals to put “entire back of the plane…to sleep.”
Less than a month after the September 11 attacks, Donald Trump suggested that sleeping gas should be used aboard commercial flights as a means to subdue terrorists. The conversation from The Howard Stern Show is one of many being archived by Factba.se, a database of all of Trump’s public comments.
In a 16-minute call to the radio program to accept a parody award on October 10, 2001, the future politician used his time to discuss several topics, including the World Trade Center. When asked about plans to rebuild, Trump backed off an idea of a “bigger and better” complex before criticizing the architecture.
“You know, the World Trade Center was never considered great architecture until September 11th,” Trump told Stern. “Sort of like Marilyn Monroe – where would she be right now if she hadn’t died…everyone disliked them.”
The conversation ultimately turned to other topics of the day, including anthrax attacks, before moving back towards aviation. Trump predicted that the American carriers “can never come back,” because of their business practices, followed by suggesting additional security means for commercial jets, including installing “stronger cockpit doors” and using sleeping gas on aircraft to subdue potential terrorists.
“You have a red button in the plane, and the pilot has a huge problem in the back […] He presses a button and sleeping gas comes out, the entire back of the plane goes to sleep,” Trump said on the air. “You now wake up at Kennedy Airport, LaGuardia Airport, they come in, they take the terrorists…hang them from the back of the plane. The rest of the people wake up and they have a nice rest.”
Although the idea may have been suggested in jest, it may not work in reality. As Newsweek points out, international law prevents “riot control agents as a method of warfare,” while a previous application of sleeping gas in Russia proved fatal in subduing a hostage situation.
While Trump may not be running an airline, policies written by his administration still have long-reaching effects in air travel. On Sunday, September 24, the president extended his initial travel ban, targeting new countries with indefinite barred entry into the United States.