Friday, September 8, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declared three days of prayer and remembrance for the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Trump's proclamation establishing September 8-10 as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance is in line with how presidents have typically commemorated the anniversary of 9/11, and its language is solemn and diplomatic. It describes the day of the attacks this way:

We pause to remember that tragic morning, when our homeland endured unprecedented attacks. As we watched smoke billow from the World Trade Center, we prayed for the safety of our fellow Americans, and we reached out to help, however we could.
In reality, though, this diverges from what Trump himself did on that day--and what he later claimed he did.

That day, Trump gave an interview with WWOR, a New Jersey TV station, in which he took time to mention that with the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, his building at 40 Wall Street was now the tallest building in New York. "40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest. And then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest." (It wasn't, although it was close.)

Fourteen years later, with his presidential campaign underway, Trump made a different sort of claim about September 11th, 2001: that he had seen "thousands" of Arab-Americans on TV, cheering the collapse of the towers. Trump had never mentioned this before, including in interviews he gave about 9/11 shortly after the day itself, and was unfazed by the fact that no such tape exists and nobody else remembers seeing it.

Why does this matter?

  • A candidate who lies about his fellow Americans' loyalty in the wake of tragedy for political gain makes him unfit as president to commemorate that tragedy.
  • Trump calling for days of "remembrance" when his own memory seems to follow what he thinks will get him votes is grotesque.