“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder,” Trump said of the site where the World Trade Center once stood. “But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
Oof. Not true. And by inserting himself into history and into a moment that quite properly belonged to the emergency services themselves, Trump shifted attention from the ceremony and onto himself. A wave of fact-checking and media reports followed. There was no evidence that he spent any meaningful time at Ground Zero, nor that he had, as he claimed on the campaign trail in 2016, helped “clear the rubble” there while he worried that the buildings would collapse on “all of us.” There was no evidence to support his fable that he sent more than 100 of his own workers to help at the site or his lie about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attack. Trump did take time on Sept. 11 to say that the collapse of the World Trade Center would make one of his buildings the tallest in Manhattan’s financial district. That wasn’t true, either.