President Biden is getting slammed by 9/11 groups as “tone deaf” and “flippant” after the president falsely claimed Monday that he visited Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Ground Zero in New York — I remember standing there the next day and looking at the building,” Biden said during his speech at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, marking 22 years since the attacks.
“I felt like I was looking through the gates of Hell, it looked so devastating because the way you could — from where you could stand,” he said.
However, then-Sen. Biden did not visit Ground Zero until nine days after the attack. The White House acknowledged as much when reached by Fox News Digital on Monday when the White House pointed to Biden’s trip as part of a Senate delegation on Sept. 20, 2001.
Biden has repeatedly made similar false claims before. Just last month, he said he witnessed a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh when in reality, he had not visited the damage site until hours later.
Terry Strada, who lost her husband in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack and chairs 9/11 Families United, told Fox News Digital that Biden’s remarks in Alaska sounded more like a “campaign speech” than a memorial.
“I caught that blunder as soon as I heard him say it,” she said. “If he can be that flippant about something so important, it made it impossible to believe anything that came out of his mouth after. The one thing the 9/11 Community wanted to hear from our president on the anniversary was accountability.”
“He never once spoke to us about what we need, justice and transparency,” she said. “It sounded more like a campaign speech with a lot of hot air.”
Brett Eagleson, the president of Justice 9/11 whose father died at the World Trade Center, said Biden’s speech was “tone deaf” and showed he is either “not paying attention or purposefully ignoring the 9/11 community.”
“On your way back from meeting with the ruler of the country that is accused of supporting 9/11, he chooses to stop in Alaska,” he said. “You have to wonder what he is thinking. It sends very upsetting signals to the 9/11 community.”
Biden had just returned from a trip of Asia for the G-20 Summit, where he met with world leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, but government officials in the country have consistently denied involvement.
Eagleson said Biden should “make do on his commitments” and “bring the 9/11 families closure and justice.”
“He promised during his campaign he would declassify documents related to Saudi government support for the 9/11 attacks,” he said. “His own DOJ and FBI is ignoring him in this regard. Biden issued an executive order in September 2021 that his own department heads are ignoring. All the while his administration is working on a ‘mega deal’ with Saudi Arabia.”
“We want promises to be kept, and we want someone who will hold Saudi Arabia accountable,” he added. “Do the right thing by the 9/11 families. Stand with us and not Saudi Arabia. Hold Saudi Arabia accountable for what that government did to America 22 years ago.”
Strada called on Biden to support a newly introduced bipartisan bill called the “Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (EJVTA),” which would strengthen existing laws allowing families of victims of terrorism to seek financial compensation from foreign sponsors of terrorism.
“There is legislation called the Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act that we sent a letter to President Biden last week with over 1,000 signatures asking for his support, and he has ignored that request,” Strada said. “He snubbed us on 9/11, and he lied about being at Ground Zero the day after Sept 11, 2001, to energize his base. That is unacceptable behavior from a sitting president. He should be embarrassed and correct the statement, then support the EJVTA.”
Biden is trying to broker a potential deal between the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel that would normalize relations between the two Middle Eastern countries, despite his 2020 campaign pledge to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” state because the kingdom, according to the CIA, carried out the assassination of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Biden administration has remained tight-lipped over the potential deal, which would reportedly come in exchange for concessions to Palestinians, U.S. assistance in building a civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia and with U.S. security guarantees.
Meanwhile, Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations fired off a bipartisan letter asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide the “complete, unredacted records of Saudi Arabia’s role in the attacks” as well as a “full explanation of any ongoing need for classification of any portions of these records.”
“Your failure to respond to our letter only adds to our concerns about the U.S. government’s longstanding refusal to provide full transparency to the American public, and particularly for the families of 9/11 victims, about Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks,” the senators wrote.
The White House did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.