On the commemoration of the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Joe Biden addressed service members and first responders, inaccurately asserting his presence at Ground Zero, Manhattan, on the day following the Twin Towers collapse. This statement was communicated during his Monday address at an Alaskan military base upon his return from a fast-paced Asia visit.
His incorrectly-remembered anecdote painted an intimate experience of the catastrophe as he vowed never to forget the horrifying event. He described his memories of the devastation as looking through the gates of hell, a profound observation alleged to have been made a mere day after the catastrophe.
Contrarily, factual records indicate that Biden, in his capacity as a senator for Delaware at the time, visited Ground Zero not the immediate day after the attacks, but nine days later on September 20, 2001. This was corroborated through a photograph and article presented by the White House, along with an anonymous official quote affirming that Biden’s first World Trade Center visit as part of a Senate bipartisan delegation occurred nine days post the attacks.
Further dispelling the president’s claim, the New York Post recounted Biden’s 2007 memoir stating that he was in fact at the Capitol on September 12, 2001. This included his address at the US Senate on the same day.
Biden’s factual inaccuracy on this matter isn’t an isolated incident, as he has a track record of misrepresenting past events during his presidency. Previous instances include inaccurate assertions about witnessing a 2022 Pittsburgh bridge collapse, the timing of his grandfather’s death, and a supposed conversation with a now-deceased Amtrak conductor.
Further, he has inaccurately claimed his involvement in a civil rights protest arrest, a job driving an 18-wheeler, visiting the synagogue site of a 2018 mass shooting, and making presidential visits to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also falsely recollected an exchange with late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and narrated a fictional story concerning a deceased relative and the Purple Heart.