Donald Trump solemnly declared today that he personally saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but evidence suggests he was nowhere near New York City on that fateful day.
Trump recalled Wednesday during a speech at the Pentagon that he personally saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center during the attack. More than 2,600 people were killed in the collapse of the twin towers.
He said he had been watching a financial news channel in his penthouse apartment at Trump Tower when news of the first crash broke, and then watched from a window as the second plane exploded in a fireball as terrorists flew it into the South Tower, according to news reports.
“I was sitting at home watching a major business television show early that morning. Jack Welch, the legendary head of General Electric, was about to be interviewed when all of a sudden they cut away,” he said.
“Nobody really knew what happened. There was great confusion,” Trump continued. “I was looking out of a window from a building in midtown Manhattan, directly at the World Trade Center, when I saw a second plane at a tremendous speed go into the second tower. It was then that I realized the world was going to change.”
Trump may well have been watching the news unfold on television, but credible evidence exists that he was actually in Florida at Mar-a-Lago on Sept. 11.
He told the same story about being in New York back in 2016, but Crain’s New York Business reported that a source had spoken by telephone with Trump, who was at his estate in Florida.
She saw his remarks and offhandedly said to her daughter-in-law: “Well, I know he didn’t see that happening from his window because he wasn’t even in New York. He was in Florida with Neal and Tolly,” the source said.
The reference was to Neal Travis, founding editor of the New York Post’s Page Six—and his wife, Tolly Travis. Both were at Trump’s Palm Beach getaway.
Quoting Crains: “The source says she knew this because Neal called her from Florida after the attacks and asked whether there was any information about when planes would be allowed to land in the city again.
“Neal said, ‘Here’s Donald; talk to him,’ she recalled. “Then I just heard this brusque voice going, ‘Have you heard anything?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Why are you asking me?’ I told him the same thing: I saw something in The [New York] Times about easing up on plane traffic.”
In fact, the Times reported on Sept. 13 that commercial air traffic had resumed that morning “on a case-by-case basis.”
If Trump were in Florida, then Sept. 13 would have been the first day he could have returned to New York.
In fact, Trump was first seen in public in New York City on Sept. 13 at Ground Zero. He gave an interview near Ground Zero to a German television station.
Crain’s looked into the source’s claim, but Neal Travis passed away in 2002 and Tolly Travis could not be reached for comment.
“We compiled a list of aircraft owned by Trump or his businesses and sent the information to a flight-tracking company. The firm told us that none of those planes were in Florida at that time,” the paper reported.
What’s more, Trump’s midtown apartment is about four miles away from where the Twin Towers stood, according to CNN. It would be impossible to see the buildings from there, according to Politifact, a fact-checking site.
Richard Alles, a New York Fire Department retired deputy chief, was on the scene after the attacks. He told us he “was there for several months” and had “no knowledge of (Trump) being down there,” according to the fact-checking site.
But Trump, by his own words, has also contradicted his claim about being in New York during the attack.
In the wake of terror attacks, Trump publicly declared at a rally in Paris in Nov. 2015 that he was in Jersey City during the 9/11 attack.
“Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering,” he said.
During an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump was told by the newscaster that police said the incident never happened.
But Trump refused to back down., although he modified his statement to say he saw it on television.
But extensive examination of news clips from that period by The Washington Post turned up nothing.
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