Donald Trump paid a visit to NYPD and FDNY officers on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, shunning a trip to Ground Zero.
The former president surprised officers at NYPD’s 17th Precinct in East Midtown in Manhattan, New York City, Saturday afternoon where he posed for photos with a group of cops and held a brief question and answer session.
Trump said very little about America’s darkest day when almost 3,000 Americans were killed in four coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a fourth plane which went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Instead, he took aim at Joe Biden over the ’embarrassment’ of his Afghanistan withdrawal, continued to push his false claim that the 2020 election was ‘rigged’ and plugged his 2024 White House run.
‘It was gross incompetence and I hate to talk about it on this day,’ Trump said of the withdrawal from Afghanistan last month.
His visit to the precinct came after Biden was joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the official 9/11 memorial ceremony at Ground Zero Saturday morning. Biden visited all three attack sites throughout the day Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary.
Former President George W. Bush, a Republican like Trump, attended the commemoration at the Flight 93 memorial site in Shanksville where he spoke to the family members of victims who died when the United Airlines jet crashed killing all 40 crew and passengers on board.
Donald Trump paid a visit to NYPD and FDNY officers on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, after deciding not to make his own solo trip to Ground Zero
The former president surprised officers at NYPD’s 17th Precinct in East Midtown in Manhattan, New York City, Saturday afternoon where he posed for photos with a group of cops and held a brief question and answer session
Trump said very little about America’s darkest day and instead took aim at Joe Biden over the ’embarrassment’ of his Afghanistan withdrawal
Trump was the only surviving president not to attend any of the three crash sites or any of the official memorial ceremonies on the 20th anniversary of America’s darkest day.
Trump, who now lives at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, is scheduled to host a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday night.
His appearance at the police precinct confirmed he had traveled to New York City for the anniversary.
He told Fox News Friday he would be attending Ground Zero in New York City at some point Saturday.
He had been expected to make a trip around 1:30pm, local law enforcement officials told the New Jersey Globe, after being informed of the plans by the Secret Service.
This timing meant he would avoid any chance of bumping into Biden who departed New York earlier Saturday to also visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and then the Pentagon.
On the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011, Bush joined his successor Obama at the New York ceremony.
Trump was notable by his absent at Ground Zero, while his visit to the precinct took place around 1:40pm – around the time he had been touted to visit the site.
It is not clear what led Trump to change his mind about visiting the 9/11 memorial in his hometown of New York.
His spokeswoman Liz Harrington told the New York Times Saturday afternoon he was no longer planning to visit the site.
‘He had the option to attend but decided to honor the day with different stops,’ she said.
As well as the visit to the precinct, Harrington said he was expected to virtually speak at an evangelical event at the National Mall in Washington DC around 6:50pm.
Cops and firefighters cheered and applauded the former president during his visit Saturday afternoon, with one fan heard shouting: ‘Thank you for keeping us safe.’
His visit to the precinct came after Biden was joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the official 9/11 memorial ceremony at Ground Zero Saturday morning (pictured above)
Former President George W. Bush (above), a Republican like Trump, attended the commemoration at the Flight 93 memorial site in Shanksville where he spoke to the family members of victims
President Joe Biden visited all three attack sites to mark the 20th anniversary. He and First Lady Jill Biden lay a wreath at the Wall of Names during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville
Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff lay a wreath at the Pentagon
In his brief address before taking questions, Trump described the anniversary as a ‘sad day’ before launching into an attack on Biden over Afghanistan.
‘It’s a sad day, a very sad day,’ he said.
‘For a lot of reasons and we just added to that reason last week as it should never have been allowed to happen.
‘I watched all the speeches and nobody mentioned what they did but we have to live with it for a period of time. It’s very disappointing.’
The former president circled back to Afghanistan later describing the Biden administration’s withdrawal as ‘gross incompetence’ and claiming his deal with ‘Abdul’ from the Taliban meant the militants were ‘on hold.’
‘They gave $85 billion [worth of equipment] away – brand new Apache helicopters. Can you believe it? They gave them away. Why would you give them away? You’d fly them out, you’d take them out,’ he said.
‘And they had all the time in the world. We had everybody on hold, the Taliban was on hold.
‘I dealt with the top guy – Abdul – and there was nothing he was going to be doing with us.’
Trump then pushed the false claims that the 2020 election was ‘rigged.’
‘All of a sudden we have a rigged election and all of a sudden we flee Afghanistan,’ he said.
‘That’s why I’m saying what timing, what horrible timing – the 20th anniversary – and I watch the speeches and not one person spoke about the fact that three days ago we fled Afghanistan and we left Americans behind and others too and we left $85billion of the best equipment ever made – much of it that I bought.’
He continued to slam the president’s handling of the withdrawal saying ‘a five-year-old would have said the military goes out last.’
Trump took aim at Joe Biden over the ’embarrassment’ of his Afghanistan withdrawal, continued to push his false claim that the 2020 election was ‘rigged’ and plugged his 2024 White House run
Trump was the only surviving president not to attend any of the three crash sites or any of the official memorial ceremonies on the 20th anniversary of America’s darkest day
Trump told Fox News Friday he would be attending Ground Zero in New York City Saturday. He had been expected to make a trip around 1:30pm to avoid any chance of bumping into Biden
‘They could have stayed there for one month or three years. They [the Taliban] weren’t going to be able to do anything but they left and when they left there was a vacuum,’ Trump said.
‘And then they came in and filled the vacuum and whoever thought of this – a five-year-old would have said the military goes out last and that’s what they [the Taliban] wanted.
‘They couldn’t believe they were leaving so it was gross incompetence and I hate to talk about it on this day but people are saying why aren’t they talking about what the hell they did.’
Trump has repeatedly laid into Biden over the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last month.
The withdrawal was turbulent with 13 American troops and dozens of Afghans killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, while the Taliban has regained control of the country.
It was Trump who signed a peace deal with the Taliban in 2020, agreeing to pull all US troops out of the country by May 2021.
Trump will host a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday night
Biden pushed the deadline back first to September 11, before bringing it forward to August 31.
Trump took questions from the officers gathered, with one person asking if he was planning to run for the White House again.
‘That’s a tough question – actually for me it’s an easy question,’ he said.
‘I mean I know what I’m going to do but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet,’ pointing to ‘ridiculous’ campaign finance laws.
‘But I think you’re going to be happy let me put it that way. I think you’re going to be very happy.’
Trump went on to praise his own record during his White House term.
‘We had the greatest economy in the world, we did things that nobody thought even possible,’ he claimed.
‘Everybody had the best jobs.’
Trump took aim at the ‘radical left’ saying ‘they couldn’t compete with what we were doing.’
When asked if he would run for mayor of New York City if he didn’t run for president, Trump said it would be ‘such an easy job’ and ‘they’d be announcing no crime in this city.’
He praised the officers present calling them ‘New York’s finest’ and saying they had for him in the election.
‘I’ve been given so much support by the people who do what you do,’ he said.
‘We love the blue. I’ll say it loud. You know, you’re not supposed to say that. We love the blue.’
Trump’s visit came after he marked the beginning of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by tearing into Biden in a video message Saturday morning.
In the message, he spoke only briefly about the terrorist attacks instead slamming his successor for his ‘bad planning’ and ‘incredible weakness’ in pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
The former president said the US ‘will struggle to recover from the embarrassment this incompetence has caused.’
‘We will live on, but sadly, our country will be wounded for a long period of time, we will struggle to recover from the embarrassment this incompetence has caused,’ he said.
‘Do not fear, however, America will be made great again.’
The video was sent by Trump’s Save America PAC in an email titled ‘NEW: 20th Anniversary of September 11th Address from President Donald J. Trump.’
Survivors and family members visit the 9/11 memorial in New York City to pay their respects on America’s darkest day
Members of the 9/11 Honor Guard salute at the end of their duty at the National 9/11 Memorial following the ceremony
Saturday morning, Trump sent out a statement complimenting Rudy Giuliani ‘for the 20th time’. Giuliani (at the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum) was mayor of New York City on 9/11 and was also Trump’s personal attorney who pushed the false claims that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’
Later Saturday morning, Trump sent out a statement complimenting Rudy Giuliani ‘for the 20th time’.
‘Congratulations to Rudy Giuliani (for the 20th time!), the greatest Mayor in the history of New York City, for having shown such leadership and doing such an incredible job during and after the attack on our Nation!’ Trump said.
Giuliani was mayor of New York City on 9/11 and was also Trump’s personal attorney who pushed the false claims that the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’ He attended the New York City memorial ceremony Saturday.
Trump will later host a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort at The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday night.
Donald Trump Jr. will be joining his father there.
Trump faced a backlash over his decision to take part in the match on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
His estranged niece Mary Trump called it ‘disgraceful’ on CNN Thursday. ‘Disgraceful isn’t a strong enough word,’ she said.
The Lincoln Project – a political action committee formed by Republicans – highlighted the differences between his and Biden’s plans.
The One World Trade Center is seen during the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York City
United Airlines Flight 175 is seen flying toward the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11 2001 after the North Tower had already been struck by a first hijacked plane
‘President Joe Biden will travel to all three sites of the terrorist attacks – New York City, Shanksville, PA, and the Pentagon,’ it tweeted.
‘President Donald Trump will travel to a casino in Florida to offer commentary at a boxing match.’
Biden brushed off criticism of the Afghanistan withdrawal when speaking to the press in Pennsylvania Saturday, after laying a wreath for the victims of Flight 93.
‘It’s hard to explain to anybody, how else could you get out,’ Biden said.
‘For example, if we were in Tajikistan and pulled up a C-130 and said we’re going to let, you know, anybody who was involved with being sympathetic to us to get on the plane, you’d have people hanging in the wheel well. Cmon.’
He also hit back at Trump for recent comments he had made about Richmond’s decision to remove a large Robert E. Lee statue.
Trump had suggested the confederate general was so great he would have won the war in Afghanistan.
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited all three sites of the 9/11 attacks Saturday.
The president did not hold speeches at any of the ceremonies instead releasing a pre-recorded video statement Friday telling Americans to ‘not be afraid’.
Vice President Kamala Harris called for ‘unity’ among Americans at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony in Shanksville
President Joe Biden waves as he is joined by former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, first lady Jill Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in NYC
The Bidens walk through Shanksville, western Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed on September 11 2001
First lady Jill Biden was captured giving firefighters six-packs of Bud Light and IC Light – a local Pittsburgh brew – at the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department after she and President Joe Biden laid a wreath at the Flight 93 memorial
First, he attended the New York City ceremony at Ground Zero where the name of each victim was read out, beginning at 8:30am and lasting several hours.
There were six moments of silence throughout the ceremony started by the chime of a bell – for the moment each tower was struck by the planes, the time both towers fell.
Bell chimes also rung out for the moment the Pentagon was struck by the third hijacked plane and the moment Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville.
Biden then flew to the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville where he attended a wreath-laying ceremony.
The president told reporters the memorials are ‘really important’ but ‘also incredibly difficult for the people affected by them’.
‘It brings back the moment they got the phone call, it brings back the instant they got the news, no matter how years go by,’ he said.
The Bidens also paid a visit to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the crash on September 11.
Dr. Jill Biden was captured passing out Bud Light and IC Light – a local Pittsburgh brew – to the first responders while the president took photos with firefighters and their families, including – he told reporters – some boys in Trump hats.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden followed by Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff at the Pentagon where they laid wreaths
An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks
A US Army band bugler stands ready on the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial site ahead of the ceremony Saturday
He then visited the Pentagon where he was joined by the first lady, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff to lay a wreath.
Harris had joined Bush at the 9/11 memorial ceremony in Shanksville earlier, where she called for a ‘united America’.
The vice president urged Americans to remember the ‘unity’ that came out of the tragedy two decades ago, saying it is ‘essential to our shared prosperity, our national security, and to our standing in the world.’
‘On the days that followed September 11th, 2001, we were all reminded that unity is possible in America. We were reminded, too, that unity is imperative in America. It is essential to our shared prosperity, our national security, and to our standing in the world,’ Harris said.
Harris, a Democrat, followed Bush, a Republican, who used his speech to condemn ‘violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,’ calling them ‘children of the same foul spirit’ – an apparent reference to both the 9/11 hijackers and the January 6 Capitol insurrectionists.
Bush, who was less than a year into his presidency when the terrorist attacks took place, condemned ‘violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,’ calling them ‘children of the same foul spirit.’
Retired Paramedic Chief Charlie Wells kisses the name of a relative killed in the attack on the World Trade Center
Port Authority Police bagpipers perform during a Port Authority Interfaith Remembrance Service at the North Oculus Plaza
Bush also used his address to tell veterans and servicemembers that their sacrifices in the War on Terror weren’t for nothing and pushed the nation to display the same sort of unity that was present in the days after September 11 2001.
‘Many Americans struggled to understand why an enemy would hate us with such zeal,’ Bush said.
‘The security measures incorporated into our lives are both sources of comfort and reminders of our vulnerability.
‘And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within.’
The former president said there is ‘little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home’ except for their ‘disregard of human life.’
Biden later paid tribute to Bush’s speech telling reporters: ‘I thought that President Bush made a really good speech today. Genuinely good speech, about who we are. The core of who we are is not divided.’