At a campaign event on Wednesday, Trump stalwart Rudy Giuliani criticized Hillary Clinton for what he purported was her fraudulent recollection of September 11, 2001. “I heard her say she was there that day. I was there that day,” Giuliani said. “I don’t remember seeing Hillary Clinton there.”
It does not seem that Clinton has ever claimed to have been in New York on September 11, 2001. The state’s junior senator at the time, she was in Washington, D.C. In an interview with CNN just last month, she recalled visiting the World Trade Center the very next day:
“We saw this curtain of black smoke that was stretched across the island,” Clinton recalled. “Occasionally it would be broken by a firefighter coming out. I remember one image so indelibly, dragging his ax, and it was as close to depiction of hell that I’ve ever personally seen.”
Those were the things Clinton saw as she approached Ground Zero on September 12, 2001 — the day after the country’s worst terrorist attacks brought down New York City’s World Trade Center and left thousands dead.
An abundance of archival photographs from the Associated Press, Getty, and Reuters all show Clinton and Giuliani walking through downtown Manhattan together on September 12.
Subsequently, Clinton dedicated much of her time in the Senate securing health benefits and other government assistance for 9/11 victims and their families, including first responders. In fact, Giuliani himself praised Clinton for those very efforts not three months ago. “Hillary Clinton, like Senator Schumer, like the entire Senate and House of Representatives, like every Republican and Democrat that I know, was enormously helpful. She and Senator Schumer and [now] Senator Gillibrand and Representative Peter King were probably some of the most helpful in getting aid for the families of 9/11 victims,” he told the Washington Post.
“For that, I would give her credit. I would also say she should share that credit with Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Pete King, me, Mayor Bloomberg, and others people who were part of it. But she was part of it and she has a right to tell people that she worked hard on behalf of the 9/11 families. She did.”
Donald Trump, meanwhile, has variously claimed that he watched people jump from the windows of the burning towers from his penthouse apartment four miles away; that he has seen footage of Arabs and Arab-Americans in New Jersey celebrating the attacks; that he could have prevented the attacks; that he wants to find out who really perpetrated the attacks; and that, at one point, he wished to “extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.”
A week after the attacks, Trump felt comfortable criticizing the World Trade Center’s architecture. “To be blunt, they were not great buildings,” he said. “They only became great upon their demise last Tuesday.” He did, however, skim $150,000 off federal funds intended for small businesses impacted by the 9/11 attacks.
Also, in 2006, the Donald J. Trump Foundation made a $1,000 donation to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund, which was co-founded by Tom Cruise and offered firefighters a treatment program designed by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, purporting “to ‘flush’ poisons from the body’s fat stores using an intensive regimen of jogging, oil ingestion, sauna, and high doses of vitamins, particularly niacin.”
After the second presidential debate on Sunday, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow wondered if Rudy Giuliani was feeling all right. “When he talks about Donald Trump, particularly tonight, I have to say he seems... a little off to me,” she told Chris Matthews, who had just spoken to America’s mayor about the debate. “He seems nuts.”
Update (October 13): Giuliani has conceded that Hillary Clinton did not say what he criticized her for saying. “I made a mistake,” he told the Associated Press. “I’m wrong and I apologize.”