President Donald Trump is leading a national moment of silence on the anniversary of the 11 September terror attacks, his first commemoration of the solemn anniversary in office. Trump and first lady Melania Trump observed a moment of silence at the White House on Monday in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed when hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The Trumps bowed their heads and placed their hands over their hearts as “Taps” was played on the South Lawn during the sombre ceremony with White House aides and other administration officials.
The morning remembrance was held at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck one of the Twin Towers on the morning of 11 September 2001.
Trump and first lady Melania were also paying their respects at a Pentagon ceremony led by defence secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The observances come as the US grapples with the death and destruction caused by two hurricanes in three weeks.
Vice president Mike Pence was representing the administration at an observance at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville.
A native New Yorker, Trump has a mixed history with 9/11. He frequently uses the terrorist strikes to praise the city’s response but also makes unsubstantiated claims about what he did and saw on that day.
Trump often lauds the bravery of New York police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders who rushed to the Twin Towers, in some cases knowing they probably wouldn’t make it out alive, as an example of the resilience of the city where he made a name for himself.
But Trump has criticized President George W. Bush’s handling of the attacks, accusing his fellow Republican of failing to keep Americans safe.
Trump has also made dubious claims about 11 September, particularly saying when talking about Muslims that “thousands of people were cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, as the towers collapsed. There is no evidence in news archives of mass celebrations there by Muslims.