"This is a guy who has a long history of insulting military heroes, from John McCain to George H.W. Bush to Admiral McCraven to the gold star Khan family," John Avlon said.
September 11, 2020

New Day's Alysin Camerota introduced John Avlon's look back at 9/11 and Donald Trump.

"Today is September 11th, and you are looking at live pictures of the Pentagon. This morning, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and New York City commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on this day 19 years ago," she said.

"President Trump was in New York during that terrible time and he has told stories about his experience, but his stories about those days often include conspiracy theories. They remain unproven. CNN's John Avlon, who was working for Rudy Giuliani at that time, has a reality check about all of this."

"Today marks 19 years since 9/11," Avlon said.

"We see a president who likes to talk tough about radical Islamic terrorism, insulting the courage of the soldiers and generals who have been fighting the war on terror ever since. So let's look back to see what Donald Trump was doing on 9/11, after the first responders ran into the fire."

40 Wall Street actually was the second tallest building in downtown Manhattan. Now it's the tallest.

Yes, he managed to use a tragic terrorist attack in real time to pump up the size of his skyscraper. Years later, Trump bragged about being on the rubble of Ground Zero."

Everyone who helped clear the rubble, and I was there, and I watched, and I helped a little bit, you didn't know what was going to come down on all of us.

"There's no record of Donald Trump being at the pile at Ground Zero, but maybe he's conflating himself with people who work for him. It's a common rich guy mistake. But even that claim, that Trump paid hundreds of guys to search through the rubble after the attack, would have to be false, because the Ground Zero perimeter was restricted in the days after the attacks. I remember, because I was working at City Hall at the time.

"Trump said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attacks. There's no evidence this happened. Trump said he'd donate $10,000 to the Twin Towers fund. There's no record of that. There's actually no record of 9/11-related donations from the alleged billionaire before he ran for president. And with so many firefighter funerals held at St. Patrick's cathedral, just four blocks from Trump Tower, there's also no record of Trump attending a service to pay his respects.

"So if you're surprised by the Atlantic's reporting that President Trump said American soldiers who died in wars are losers and suckers and didn't want to see disabled vets in his military parades, or that he denigrated dead Marines buried in a World War I cemetery, or that he stood next to his former chief of staff, John Kelly, at the grave of his son, Robert Kelly, who died in Afghanistan, and said, 'I don't get it. What was in it for them?', well, you're right to be outraged, but you haven't within paying attention.

"Because this is a guy who has a long history of insulting military heroes, from John McCain to George H.W. Bush to Admiral McCraven to the gold star Khan family. This is a guy who dodged the draft during Vietnam, who calls his general slang for female genitalia for standing by our allies while he negotiates with the Taliban, abandoned the Kurds in Syria and puts 14,000 new troops in the Middle East. Team Trump will deny it all, just like they desperately tried to deny Trump's comments caught on tape.

"But don't believe it for a second. Because all the evidence suggests that Donald Trump doesn't understand the spirit of sacrifice, because it's never been about public service. It's always been about himself. And that's your reality check."

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