President Donald Trump signed into law on Monday the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund bill, which will permanently grant funds to first responders and others who were adversely affected by the debris and other chemicals that were in the air following the collapse of the World Trade Center Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
During the signing ceremony, Trump made a claim that many are calling questionable: that he was at Ground Zero helping to clear rubble after the towers fell.
“I was down there also,” Trump said.
“But I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you,” the president added.
If Trump was down at Ground Zero on 9/11 or the days after, there’s apparently no tangible proof to demonstrate it. Fact-checking sites Politifact and Snopes were unable to disprove Trump’s claims, but neither could corroborate them, either, per reporting from The Week.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 29, 2019
Trump has made similar claims in the past, including in 2016 during the presidential campaign when he also said he “helped a little bit” to clear rubble during recovery efforts. In television interviews from the past, Trump has also suggested he hired “hundreds of men” to help.
Ground Zero first responders who were there that day have called into question Trump’s claims, as many of the leaders who were there that day cannot recall any such efforts by the business mogul at the time ever happening, CNN reported.
To be sure, Trump was in New York City in the days after the towers fell, as he gave at least two interviews, possibly more, to television stations reporting on the effects of the towers collapsing.
In one of those interviews, Trump discussed how his building at 40 Wall Street had become the tallest on Manhattan following the World Trade Center’s destruction, in comments that many have labeled as bragging about that fact after the terrorist attack occurred.
“I mean, 40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually before the World Trade Center the tallest, and then when they built the World Trade Center it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest,” Trump said at the time, per reporting from Business Insider.