Lisette Voytko Forbes Staff
President Trump has a history of making unfounded claims and misleading statements about the September 11 attacks that begins 19 years ago, on the day of the attack
September 11, 2001 Trump claimed in a TV interview that one of the buildings he owns, 40 Wall Street, became the tallest building in downtown Manhattan after the Twin Towers came down, but it’s actually 25 feet shorter than 70 Pine Street, just one block away.
November 16, 2015 Trump told campaign rally attendees that he predicted 9/11 orchestrator Osama bin Laden would target the Twin Towers in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, but reports from as early as 1999 prove a possible bin Laden attack was on the radar for U.S. officials.
November 21, 2015 Trump said during a campaign rally he witnessed Muslims cheering the towers’ collapse from Jersey City, but an exhaustive investigation by the Washington Post, bolstered by interviews with law enforcement, debunked this ever happened.
November 23, 2015 During another campaign rally, Trump claimed he witnessed people jumping from the towers, even though he said on the day of the attacks he was at home when the planes hit—and Trump Tower is four miles north of Ground Zero.
April 12, 2016 Trump told Time magazine his organization received a $150,000 federal grant for 40 Wall Street because he let people impacted by the attacks use the building, but a New York Daily News investigation found the money was intended for small business recovery, and that the Trump Organization said it was used for rent loss, cleanup, and repair—not for helping people.
April 18, 2016 Trump told campaign rally attendees he “helped a little bit” to clear rubble at Ground Zero with other first responders, though there’s no contemporaneous reports this ever happened.
July 29, 2019 Before he signed a bill extending the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, Trump claimed he “spent a lot of time down” at Ground Zero with first responders, but was not a presence there according to a former FDNY chief deputy, although Trump did make visits to the New York Stock Exchange and surrounding area in the days after the attack, which is a few blocks east of Ground Zero.
September 11, 2019During a commemoration of the attacks, Trump said that he watched the second plane hit the Twin Towers from a building, but he made no mention of this during his 2001 TV interview and, again, his home is four miles away.
Also that dayTrump repeated his claim that he assisted first responders at Ground Zero.
September 18, 2019Trump attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., again by tweeting a misleading video that he claims shows the Congresswoman dancing on the anniversary of 9/11, but Omar refuted this, explaining the video was from a Congressional Black Caucus event days before the anniversary.
Over 20,000. That’s how many false or misleading claims Trump has made just during his first presidential term, according to an ongoing tracker from the Washington Post. Trump passed the 20,000 threshold in July, by then averaging 23 claims per day over a 14 month period, the Post reported.
“[Trump] seems so willing to say whatever suits him at that moment regardless of whether it’s true,” PolitiFact founder Bill Adair told the New York Times in 2018. “I’ve just never seen any political figure distort the truth so recklessly.”
Trump was known for making brash, controversial and wild statements before he ascended to the presidency in 2016. In his bestselling book The Art Of The Deal,Trump had his own terms for this practice: “truthful hyperbole” and “innocent exaggeration.” But once he took office, fact-checkers and other institutions rooted in shared facts have struggled to keep up with the volume of Trump’s misleading or false claims. The bombshell revealed by journalist Bob Woodward on Wednesday ignited intense debate over what Trump knew when about the coronavirus, and when he should have shared that knowledge with the American people. All those years of truthful hyperbole could be catching up with Trump. According to an August 4 poll by NBC News and Survey Monkey, 58% of Americans don’t trust what Trump has to say about the coronavirus pandemic.