“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder,” Trump said. “But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
Let’s be clear about what Trump is doing here: He is associating himself — very closely — with the men and women who were the first to respond to planes being crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. People who continue to suffer health issues due to their jobs.
So, what was Trump actually doing on September 11, 2001?
“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest—and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest.”
Yeah. He really said that.
“In the immediate aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the country, Trump talked publicly mostly about the buildings, and his buildings, and market ramifications and the character and resiliency of the citizens of the city where he’s lived almost his entire life. But reporters then had only so much reason to ask him about issues of national security or foreign policy.”
“The sight of Donald Trump, every hair in place and impeccably dressed in a black suit, pressed white shirt and red tie, walking into the plaza with his cellular phone to his ear.
“‘No, no. The building’s gone,’ he says into the phone.”
The point here is that there’s very little evidence to back up what Trump tried to do on Monday morning. It’s also not the first time he’s done it.
Some of this is a dog-bites-man story. Trump is a serial exaggerator and fabricator — about everything. So why should we be surprised that he has a long track record of suggesting he was someone involved in the cleanup after the 9/11 attacks when it’s clear he wasn’t?
We shouldn’t be surprised. But we should be appalled that the President of the United States is willing to say things like this — especially to a crowd who has given so much to the country in its darkest hours.