Speaking on Monday at the signing of a bill f0r the 9/11 first responders fund, President Donald Trump thought now was a good time to make jokes to an audience of September 11 survivors about collapsing infrastructure, and “not falling very far” should the stage he was standing on break.
Shortly before raising the hilarious specter of an architectural collapse to a group of people who lived through 9/11, Trump also noted that he too was in New York when the Twin Towers fell. But please, do not call him a hero. He just wants you to know he was present, not first-responding.
“I was down there also,” Trump told the crowd.
“But,” he added, in case there was any confusion as to whether he pulled on a hard hat and actually went sifting through the rubble trying to save lives, “I’m not considering myself a first responder.”
In fact, Trump spent the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks doing two things: Musing about how he now owned the tallest building in Manhattan, and claiming to have seen “thousands and thousands of people [...] cheering as [the Trade Center] building was coming down” in New Jersey, not New York. (This was a lie.) He also claimed to have hired a crew of hundreds to help with the response, something people on the ground at the time say they have no recollection of whatsoever. Actually, there are many falsehoods Trump has spread about himself and 9/11. Shocking, I know.
So while Trump is “not considering myself a first responder,” he did, in fact, respond firstly when it comes what he does best: Shameless self-aggrandizement and spreading bigoted lies.