Did Trump help at ground zero after 9/11 attacks?
Published 7:22 PM EDT Sep 11, 2019
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump honored thousands that died as a result of the Sept. 11 terror attacks during remarks at the Pentagon Wednesday.
But the president also didn’t miss a chance to again claim he helped in the aftermath of the terror attacks at ground zero.
“I was looking out of a window from a building at Midtown Manhattan directly at the World Trade Center when I saw a second plane at a tremendous speed go into the second tower. It was then that I realized the world was going to change. I was no longer going to be, and it could never, ever be that innocent place that I thought it was,” Trump said.
“Soon after, I went down to Ground Zero with men who worked for me to try to help in any little way that we could,” he continued. “We were not alone. So many others were scattered around trying to do the same. They were all trying to help.”
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Trump has made several versions of this claim in the past but there is a lack of evidence that Trump helped or hired people to help on the days following the terrorist attack.
Richard Alles, who was the New York Fire Department battalion chief during the Sept. 11 attack, has repeatedly said that he does not remember Trump having a presence at ground zero.
During an interview with the New York Times, Alles said that despite spending several months at the ground zero site, he “never witnessed” Trump there.
“He was a private citizen at the time. I don’t know what kind of role he could have possibly played,” Alles told the Times in July.
There are, however, a couple of photos and interviews that show Trump near ground zero days after the attacks.
Trump was several blocks from ground zero just two days after the attack, where he did an interview with a German news station. In the interview, the business mogul then asserted that he had “a lot of men down” there.
“We have over 100, another 125 coming,” he said at the time.
There is also an image of Trump outside the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 18, 2001, a week from the attacks.
But there is still no evidence that Trump helped at ground zero in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
Alles in a separate interview with PolitiFact in July said that he had no knowledge of Trump being at ground zero or sending at least 100 workers to help. Alles told PolitiFact that he was at the scene 20 minutes after the second building collapsed.
“I was in a supervisory role with the fire department at the time,” he said. “I was there for several months — I have no knowledge of his being down there.”
In addition, Alles said “there would be a record” if Trump had sent a crew of at least 100 workers to help out at ground zero.
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“Everybody worked under direct supervision of the police and fire department and the joint commander for emergency services,” he said. “Is there a chance he was ever down there by himself and I didn’t know it? It’s possible, but I know of no one who ever witnessed him there.”
This is not the first time Trump has made claims about 9/11.
Trump said while campaigning ahead of the 2016 election on Nov. 21, 2015 that he remember watching on TV “thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down” in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The next day he also claimed that he saw on television that “there were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down.”
However, no footage of such celebration was found to be broadcast, according to FactCheck.org.