Donald Trump and his statements are known to stir controversies every now and then. Among his recurring narratives, his remarks related to the tragic events of 9/11 have come under particular scrutiny, especially as the US marks the 22nd anniversary of the tragedy. Trump’s appearance on Newsmax in 2021 revived his questionable assertions about his role during and after the 9/11 attacks
Recently Trump repeated his claim as he went on to share that he acted as a first responder to rescue the twin tower attack victims from ground zero. He vividly recounted, “I was down there right after the event, and I brought a big crew of people down and I helped, a lot of other people helped. Those first responders are very brave,” per Vanity Fair.
He continued, “And I’m telling you, we were hearing creaks; I’ve never forgotten it. There was—I think the United States Steel Building it was called at the time, and it’s 50 stories tall, and we heard creaks. I said, ‘That building’s going to come down,’ and two big firemen grabbed me and grabbed other people, and they just moved out of that area. Never came down, but I’d never heard a noise like that.” However, fact-checkers have long cast doubt on these assertions.
While there is a photo of Trump outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 18, 2001, looking unscathed and wearing a dust-free suit, it’s challenging to find concrete evidence supporting his claims of direct involvement in the recovery efforts at Ground Zero.
Richard Alles, the New York Fire Department battalion chief during the attacks, has repeatedly stated that he has no recollection of Trump being present at the site. Alles raised questions regarding his contributions saying, “Is there a chance he was ever down there by himself and I didn’t know it? It’s possible, but I know of no one who ever witnessed him there.” Moreover, if Trump had indeed sent a substantial team to aid first responders, there should be records documenting such actions, yet these records are conspicuously absent.
Trump’s controversial statements about 9/11 extend beyond his alleged on-the-ground involvement. Over the years, he has made various claims, including watching people jump from the Twin Towers from his apartment several miles away, asserting that he witnessed Muslims celebrating the attacks in Jersey City (a claim debunked by extensive research), and even suggesting that he predicted the attacks in some way.
Perhaps the most astonishing recent comment from Trump regarding 9/11 was his assertion that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks, was not as bad as other terrorists, per Vanity Fair. At the end of the day, it remains undebated that the day is reserved for praising the first responders, and the resilience of the Americans who emerged like a phoenix from the ashes.