President Donald Trump has brought up old claims that he “spent a lot of time” at Ground Zero in the days following the September 11 terror attacks responsible for nearly 3,000 deaths.
After signing the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund in the White House Rose Garden, he played up his presence at the site of the attack alongside first responders, according to The Independent.
“Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers and other first responders,” he said.
“And I was down there also. But I am not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
Trump has made this claim about September 11 before. At an April 2016 campaign stop in Buffalo, New York, he told his supporters that he assisted with recovery efforts, according to The Washington Post.
“Everyone who helped clear the rubble ― and I was there, and I watched, and I helped a little bit ― but I want to tell you: Those people were amazing,” he said. “Clearing the rubble. Trying to find additional lives. You didn’t know what was going to come down on all of us ― and they handled it.”
No evidence has ever surfaced that Trump was ever there with the first responders.
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There is evidence that Trump was in the area where the Twin Towers fell days after the attacks. He did two television interviews where he talked about the attacks and claimed he had “hundreds of men” clearing rubble, according to CNN.
According to The Washington Post, the president claimed that he watched thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate the attack.
“I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering,” said Trump.
Police in Jersey City have said that there were no crowds cheering, and no such news footage of the Muslim crowd has ever been found.
In a February 2016 debate, Trump said that he “lost hundreds of friends” in the attacks, but never provided any names.
At a rally in Columbus, Ohio, in November 2015, Trump said that he watched the second plane hit the towers and that he could see people jumping out of the windows of the World Trade Center from his apartment in midtown, which is over four miles from Ground Zero, according to The New York Times.
In an interview with a New Jersey news channel following the attacks, Trump bragged that his building had just become the tallest in the city.
“When they built the World Trade Centre it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest,” he said.
According to The Washington Post, that claim was bogus.
In a bid to capitalize on the federal recovery grants, Trump received $150,000 meant for small businesses affected by the terror attacks. His properties were not damaged on September 11, according to The New York Times.
The new law signed by the president on Monday will provide permanent financial aid to survivors and first responders who became ill after working at Ground Zero.
Many victims and first responders suffered medical issues caused by the debris from the fallen towers.