Monday, July 29, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to rewrite 9/11 history again.

Trump held a signing ceremony for a bill to permanently endow a compensation fund for people who contracted injuries or diseases in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. It was championed by comedian Jon Stewart, who forced it into the national spotlight and made it impossible for the Senate to continue to block. Trump hates Stewart and refused to mention him during the ceremony.

Trump did, however, mention himself, once again lying that he personally had had anything to do with the response to the attacks:

[The bill] also provides pensions for those who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses stemming from the toxic debris they were exposed to in the aftermath of the attacks. Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers, and other first responders. And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.

This is a lie. Trump was no closer to the WTC than millions of other New Yorkers at the time of the attack, and was not "with" first responders in any way whatsoever. (It's not even clear Trump was a bystander.) Trump has also claimed he paid "hundreds of men" to help with the cleanup and rescue efforts. There's no evidence of this, other than Trump's word.

There is evidence of how Trump spent his time immediately after the attacks, though. He gave several phone interviews that day. In one of them he bragged that because the World Trade Center's twin towers had been destroyed, he now owned the tallest building in Manhattan. (He didn't.) He also promptly filed for a "small business" grant and claimed $150,000 for supposed damage to one of his properties. (Even this was a lie: he told reporters on September 13 that the property in question was undamaged.)

Unlike millions of other Americans, Trump—who claims to be and at times may actually have been a billionaire—never gave any money to 9/11 charities. (He did eventually give money to the 9/11 museum, but this appears to have been a 2016 campaign stunt.) He said he lost "hundreds" of friends in the attack—or about 10% of the total killed—but has never attended a single funeral or mentioned any names of people he lost. He also insisted he personally witnessed people jumping from the towers from his apartment in Trump Tower. People did jump, but Trump couldn't have seen them from that distance, so the story was changed to include a "solid gold" telescope.

Trump's speech did not mention that his own 2019 budget proposal would have cut funding for 9/11-related health claims.

Why does this matter?

  • Anyone who would tell this many self-promoting lies about the greatest tragedy in recent American history is too sick to be president.