President Donald Trump and the first lady are marking the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Monday by observing a moment of silence and attending a Pentagon ceremony with Vice President Mike Pence.
[O]ur Nation recalls the nearly 3,000 innocent people murdered on September 11, 2001. As we reflect on our sorrow and our grief, we come together to pray for those who lost loved ones. As a Nation, we pray that the love of God and the comfort of knowing that those who perished are forever remembered brings them peace and gives them courage.
But how did Trump talk about the attacks before coming to the White House?
On Sept. 11, 2001: Size still matters
On the day of the attacks, Trump also made a jaw-dropping comment that, after the collapse of the Twin Towers, a property of his at 40 Wall Street was then the “tallest in Manhattan,” a dubious claim; 40 Wall Street was shorter than the tallest post-9/11 building in New York City by 25 feet.
Two days later: “New York is very strong and resilient and will rebuild very quickly”
Trump is a native New Yorker, meaning the events of Sept. 11 have an additional significance to him. The former real estate developer was interviewed in Lower Manhattan near the site of the attack by German news network N24 on Sept. 13, 2001.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, the devastation … New York is very strong and resilient and will rebuild very quickly,” he told the network. He also advocated for a “quick” and “effective” United States response to the perpetrators of the World Trade Center attacks and vowed that he and his businesses would “be involved” in clearing and reconstructing the area around Ground Zero.
On Twitter: “Best wishes” on this “special date”
In 2013, Trump tweeted his “best wishes” to everyone, even his oft-disparaged “haters and losers,” on this “special date,” Sept. 11.
On the campaign trail:
A missing donation
On the campaign trail in 2015, Trump boasted that he’d given enormous amounts of money to charity in the days after the attacks, including a $10,000 donation to the Twin Towers Fund, one of the two foremost charities handling charitable giving and support for the 9/11 attacks. The Twin Towers Fund was dedicated to first responders and their families, especially families who lost a first responder in the attack; they disbursed $216 million before closing.
Reviews of charity records, however, showed “no evidence” that Trump or his foundation gave any money to the Twin Towers fund or its counterpart, New York City Public/Private Initiatives Inc. While he received praise and credit for that donation on Howard Stern’s radio show, the money never showed up in charity records or IRS forms.
Furthermore, while reviews of Trump Foundation giving have found hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations over the years, there are no donations to 9/11 charities — except one, a $1,000 donation to a Tom Cruise-founded “Workers Detoxification Fund” that used Scientology-approved methods to “detox” rescue workers.
The mystery of the missing Muslims
Trump also claimed to have seen “thousands” of “Muslims” on “rooftops” cheering the 9/11 attacks as they went on, a claim that has yet to be verified or even substantially corroborated by anyone beyond a few fringe internet sources.
The July 11 attacks
Last year, in a campaign speech in Buffalo, N.Y., Trump said he “
Better ratings than 9/11
This year, during an interview with the Associated Press, he claimed to have given CBS’ “Face the Nation” its highest ratings since the show’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks, with “5.2 million” people.
“It’s the highest for ‘Face the Nation,’ or as I call it, ‘Deface the Nation.’ The highest for ‘Deface the Nation’ since the World Trade Center, since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage,” said the President of the United States.