Published 10:56 PM EDT, Mon September 11, 2023
In a speech to service members and first responders on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Joe Biden falsely claimed that he was at Ground Zero the day after the Twin Towers fell in Manhattan.
Biden, returning from a whirlwind trip to Asia, said in his Monday remarks at a military base in Alaska: “I join you on this solemn day to renew our sacred vow: never forget. Never forget. We never forget. Each of us – each of those precious lives stolen too soon when evil attacked. Ground Zero in New York – I remember standing there the next day, and looking at the building. And I felt like I was looking through the gates of hell, it looked so devastating because of the way – from where you could stand.”
Facts First: Biden was not at Ground Zero the day after 9/11. He actually went to Ground Zero nine days after the attacks.
Asked Monday night about the claim, the White House provided a photo and article showing that Biden, then a senator for Delaware, toured Ground Zero on September 20, 2001. A White House official then emailed this comment on condition of anonymity: “The President first visited the World Trade Center nine days after the September 11 terrorist attacks as part of a bipartisan delegation from the Senate.”
As The New York Post noted on Monday, Biden wrote in a 2007 memoir that he “headed back to the Capitol” on September 12, 2001. He spoke that day in the US Senate.
Another false claim about his own past
It’s possible, of course, that Biden genuinely misremembered when his visit to Ground Zero occurred. As president, though, he has repeatedly made false claims about his past.
He did it three times in a single speech last month – falsely claiming to have witnessed a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh in 2022 (he actually visited the site more than six hours after the collapse), falsely claiming his grandfather had died just days prior to his own birth at the same hospital (his paternal grandfather died more than a year prior in another state), and again repeating a long-debunked false story about a supposed conversation with an Amtrak conductor who was deceased at the time the story would have had to take place.
In 2021 and 2022, he falsely claimed to have been arrested during a civil rights protest (he had previously said merely that an officer had taken him home from a protest), falsely claimed he “used to drive an 18-wheeler” (the White House said he once had a job driving a different vehicle, a school bus), falsely claimed to have visited the Pittsburgh synagogue where worshippers were killed in a 2018 mass shooting (he had spoken to its rabbi by phone but had not gone), falsely claimed to have visited Iraq and Afghanistan as president (he made repeated visits as a senator and vice president but not as president), told a false story involving a late relative and the Purple Heart, and falsely described his interactions decades ago with late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.