Donald Trump has marked the beginning of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by tearing into Joe Biden over his Afghanistan withdrawal and telling his supporters ‘do not fear, America will be made great again’.
Trump released a video message Saturday morning speaking only briefly about the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans on September 11 2001 – instead slamming his successor for his ‘bad planning’ and ‘incredible weakness’ in pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
The former president, who will not attend any of the official 9/11 memorial ceremonies, said the US ‘will struggle to recover from the embarrassment this incompetence has caused.’
‘We will live on, but sadly, our country will be wounded for a long period of time, we will struggle to recover from the embarrassment this incompetence has caused,’ he said.
‘Do not fear, however, America will be made great again.’
The video was sent by Trump’s Save America PAC in an email titled ‘NEW: 20th Anniversary of September 11th Address from President Donald J. Trump.’
Its release comes after Trump said he will visit Ground Zero Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary – but only after Biden leaves and before he heads to host a boxing match in Florida.
He is the only surviving US president not expected to attend one of the official ceremonies.
Donald Trump has marked the beginning of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by releasing a video (above) tearing into Joe Biden over his Afghanistan withdrawal and telling his supporters ‘do not fear, America will be made great again’
Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 flies toward the World Trade Center Twin towers before slamming into the South Tower on September 11 2001. Trump said he will visit Ground Zero Saturday – but only after Biden leaves
Trump spoke only briefly at the start of the video statement about the ‘great sorrow’ caused by the horrific day where terrorists carried out four coordinated attacks striking the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and the fourth plane crashing in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
‘For the great people of our country, this is a very sad day. September 11th represents great sorrow for our country,’ he said.
‘Many things were displayed that day, including, most importantly, the bravery of our police, fire and first responders of every kind.
‘The job they did was truly unbelievable. We love them and we thank them.’
The former president then launched into his attack on Biden.
‘It is also a sad time for the way our war on those that did so much harm to our country ended last week.
‘The loss of 13 great warriors and the many more who were wounded should never have happened,’ he said, a reference to the 13 US troops killed in a suicide bomb in Kabul in August during the evacuation from Afghanistan.
‘Overall, two hundred and fifty people were killed in Afghanistan last week and so many more were seriously injured,’ Trump continued.
‘We had $85billion dollars of the finest and most sophisticated military equipment taken from us without even a shot being fired.’
Trump continued by tearing into Biden as a ‘fool’ whose administration ‘admitted defeat.’
‘The leader of our country was made to look like a fool, and that can never be allowed to happen,’ he said.
‘It was caused by bad planning, incredible weakness, and leaders who truly didn’t understand what was happening.’
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at the National September 11 Memorial in New York on Saturday
Katie Mascali is comforted by her fiance Andre Jabban as they stand near the name of her father Joseph Mascali, a firefighter with FDNY Rescue 5, Saturday morning
Trump said the anniversary should be a time of ‘honor and strength’ but, instead, said Biden had caused the nation ’embarrassment.’
‘This is the 20th year of this war and should have been a year of victory and honor and strength,’ he said.
‘Instead, Joe Biden and his inept administration surrendered in defeat.
‘We will live on, but sadly, our country will be wounded for a long period of time, we will struggle to recover from the embarrassment this incompetence has caused.
‘Do not fear, however, America will be made great again.’
Trump has repeatedly laid into Biden over the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last month.
Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban in 2020, agreeing to pull all US troops out of the country by May 2021.
Biden pushed the deadline back first to September 11, before bringing it forward to August 31.
The withdrawal was turbulent with 13 American troops and dozens of Afghans killed in the Kabul suicide attack, while the Taliban has regained control of the country.
Former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg’s partner Diana Taylor and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attend the 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York Saturday morning
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (mayor at the time of the attack) attends the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony on the 20th anniversary
Survivors and family members of victims also gathered at the memorial where the Twin Towers once stood with pictures of their loved ones
Trump told Fox News Friday he will travel to Manhattan, New York City, Saturday to pay his respects at the site of the World Trade Center.
He is expected to visit Ground Zero at around 1:30pm, local law enforcement officials told the New Jersey Globe, after being informed of the plans by the Secret Service.
This timing means Trump will avoid any chance of bumping into his successor as Biden will have departed New York by this time to attend ceremonies in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon.
On the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011, Republican President George Bush joined his successor Democratic President Barack Obama at the New York ceremony.
Biden flew into New York Friday night for the official 9/11 memorial ceremony at Ground Zero Saturday morning, which began 8:30am.
He was joined by former presidents Obama and Bill Clinton at the ceremony.
Survivors and family members of victims also gathered at the memorial where the Twin Towers once stood.
The names of each victim will be read out in the ceremony, which will last several hours.
Trump is the only surviving president not expected to attend official ceremonies. Then-President George Bush (seen at Ground Zero on September 12 2001) will attend and speak at the ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
There will be six moments of silence during the ceremony – marking the moment each tower was struck by the hijacked airplanes, the time both the South and the North Towers fell, the moment the Pentagon was struck by the third hijacked plane and the moment Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers tried to take it back from the terrorists on route to the capital.
Among the others in attendance at Ground Zero were: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Meanwhile, Bush, who was less than a year into his presidency when the September 11 terrorist attacks took place, will attend the ceremony in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed.
The ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville will begin at 9:45am with Bush delivering a speech.
Then, at 10.03am – the moment Flight 93 crashed – the names of the passengers and crew members will be read out.
Biden will leave New York around 10am to head to Shanksville, followed by the Pentagon shortly after for a wreath-laying ceremony.
Trump, meanwhile, had been tightlipped on his plans to mark two decades on from the horrific day that changed the world.
He did however make plans to host a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday night.
Trump plans to host a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday night
The match will take place at The Seminole Hard Rock Casino on Saturday, and is being touted ‘The Most Anticipated Heavyweight Fight of The Year.’
Donald Trump Jr. will be joining his father there.
Trump faced a backlash over his decision to take part in the match on September 11.
His estranged niece Mary Trump called it ‘disgraceful’ on CNN Thursday.
‘Disgraceful isn’t a strong enough word,’ she said.
The Lincoln Project – a political action committee formed by Republicans – highlighted the differences between his and Biden’s plans.
‘President Joe Biden will travel to all three sites of the terrorist attacks – New York City, Shanksville, PA, and the Pentagon,’ it tweeted.
‘President Donald Trump will travel to a casino in Florida to offer commentary at a boxing match.’
The 9/11 attacks, carried out 20 years ago today, killed almost 3,000 people
Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at LaGuardia Airport in New York Friday ahead of Saturday’s official 9/11 memorial ceremony