Trump: I ‘Helped a Little Bit’ With Clearing Rubble at Ground Zero

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the First Niagara Center, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of attention over the past 12 hours for referring to the Sept. 11 terror attacks as “7/11” during a speech in Buffalo. It’s an awkward, amusing slip-up — but it’s just a slip-up.

More interesting, perhaps, is something he said shortly afterward.

Trump was talking about “New York values” — a means of dismissing Ted Cruz in Trump’s home state. As he did during the debate where Cruz first made the point, Trump was using the attacks as a way of espousing what it is that New Yorkers stand for. Unusually for him, he was reading from a sheet of paper.

Then he offered this aside.

“Everyone who helped clear the rubble — and I was there, and I watched, and I helped a little bit — but I want to tell you: Those people were amazing,” Trump said. “Clearing the rubble. Trying to find additional lives. You didn’t know what was going to come down on all of us — and they handled it.”

(h/t Washington Post)


In the context of the statement of the Ground Zero cleanup, Trump sounds as if he is lumping himself in with the first responders who worked to physically remove the rubble. “Everyone who helped clear the rubble… and I helped a little bit…”

Despite some wacko conspiracy theorists, Donald Trump unquestionably went to Ground Zero after the attacks. However the assertion that he had lifted a finger himself personally to help is questionable. The taking of video and images at the ground zero cleanup was banned by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, so the likelihood of photographic evidence either way would be slim.

What is more likely from the available evidence is he paid for workers to join in the cleanup efforts, which itself was commendable. For example this German interview on September, 13, 2001 where the reporter asks, “Will you be involved, will you take any efforts, any steps to reconstruct the area?”

“Well, I have a lot of men down here right now. We have over 100 and we have about 125 coming. So we’ll have a couple of hundred people down here.”

At worst it is a gross misrepresentation of his actual contributions to the Ground Zero cleanup and at best a miscommunication of intent. Pardon us for placing the bar a little higher for a candidate to a major political party for the President of the United States.



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