Solemn oc­ca­sion

Trump read­ies for first Sept. 11 com­mem­o­ra­tion as pres­i­dent


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will pre­side over his first 9-11 com­mem­o­ra­tion in of­fice to­day, a mostly solemn and non­par­ti­san oc­ca­sion that may high­light his mud­dled claims about the worst ter­ror­ist at­tack on U.S. soil.

Trump and first lady Me­la­nia Trump planned to ob­serve a mo­ment of si­lence at the White House in re­mem­brance of the nearly 3,000 peo­ple who were killed when hi­jack­ers flew com­mer­cial air­planes into New York’s World Trade Cen­ter, the Pen­tagon and a field near Shanksville, Penn., the White House said.

The morn­ing re­mem­brance was sched­uled for about the time the first plane struck one of the Twin Tow­ers on the morn­ing of Sept. 11, 2001.

Trump and his wife also were to pay their re­spects at a Pen­tagon cer­e­mony led by De­fence Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis and Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The ob­ser­vances come as Trump grap­ples with the death and de­struc­tion caused by two hur­ri­canes in three weeks.

Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence was to rep­re­sent the ad­min­is­tra­tion at an ob­ser­vance at the 9-11 memo­rial in Shanksville.

A na­tive New Yorker, Trump has a mixed his­tory with 9-11. He fre­quently uses the ter­ror­ist strikes to praise the city’s re­sponse but also makes un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims about what he did and saw on that day.

Trump often lauds the brav­ery of New York po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers and other emer­gency re­spon­ders who rushed to the Twin Tow­ers, in some cases know­ing they prob­a­bly wouldn’t make it out alive, as an ex­am­ple of the re­silience of the city where he made a name for him­self.

But Trump has crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s han­dling of the at­tacks, ac­cus­ing his fel­low Repub­li­can of fail­ing to keep Amer­i­cans safe.

Trump has also made du­bi­ous claims about Sept. 11, par­tic­u­larly say­ing when talk­ing about Mus­lims that “thousands of peo­ple were cheer­ing” in Jersey City, N.J., across the Hud­son River from lower Man­hat­tan, as the tow­ers col­lapsed.

There is no ev­i­dence in news archives of mass cel­e­bra­tions there by Mus­lims.

Trump has also said he lost “hun­dreds of friends” in the at­tack and that he helped clear rub­ble af­ter­ward. Trump has not pro­vided the names of those he knew who per­ished in the at­tack, but has men­tioned know­ing a Catholic priest who died while serv­ing as a chap­lain to the city’s fire depart­ment.

Last year’s 15th an­niver­sary cer­e­mony in lower Man­hat­tan was tinged by the heated pres­i­den­tial race be­tween Trump and Demo­crat Hil­lary Clinton. Both at­tended the ob­ser­vance on a warm Septem­ber morn­ing, but Clinton de­parted abruptly and was video­taped stum­bling as she was be­ing helped into a van.

Clinton later re­vealed that she had been di­ag­nosed days ear­lier with pneu­mo­nia.

The episode fu­elled ques­tions that Trump had raised about Clinton’s trans­parency and whether she had the stamina to handle be­ing pres­i­dent. Clinton took a few days off from cam­paign­ing to re­gain her strength. A Trump cam­paign ad in­cluded footage of her stag­ger­ing to the van.


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walks with first lady Me­la­nia Trump to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.

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