Shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President Donald Trump called New Yorkers “very strong and resilient” in an interview with a German television station.
In an interview conducted blocks from Ground Zero, Trump, then a celebrity real estate tycoon, said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“The devastation,” he said. “The human life that’s been just wasted, for no reason whatsoever. It is a terrible scene. It is a terrible sight. But New Yorkers are very strong and resilient, and they’ll rebuild quickly.”
Trump, who lived in Manhattan at the time, said some of his workers were helping in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center.
“We have a lot of men down here right now,” he said in the interview. “We have over 100, another 125 coming.”
The reporter, Stephan Bachenheimer, asked Trump how the United States should respond to the attacks.
“Well,” Trump began, “I think they have to respond quickly and effectively. They have to find out exactly what the cause was, who did it, and they have to go after these people, because there is no other choice.”
Trump said in the interview that he hoped the city would begin to rebuild “very quickly” with a building just as “majestic” as the Twin Towers. He noted that efforts to rescue survivors were still underway.
“We have to save as many lives as possible if that is possible,” he said.
He also discussed the challenge of preventing terrorist attacks.
“People were willing to die,” he said. “And when they’re willing to die, and when they’re willing to be kamikazes of a sense, there’s very little you can do about it.”
The Washington Post reported that in another post-9/11 interview with WWOR-TV in New York, Trump described what he saw from his apartment in a Manhattan skyscraper. Asked if his building had been damaged, Trump said that one of his buildings was now the tallest.
"Forty Wall St. actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was, actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest," Trump said. "And then when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest, and now it's the tallest."
Monday marks the first anniversary of the attacks since Trump took office. He and first lady Melania Trump marked the occasion with a moment of silence on the White House lawn.
In remarks at a memorial service Monday at the Pentagon, Trump said, "When Americans are in need, Americans pull together, and we are one country,"
"And when we face hardship, we emerge closer, stronger, and more determined than ever," he said.