Joe Biden was sharply criticised by his political foes on Monday after his 9/11 remarks were marred by his false retelling of his own experience of visiting Ground Zero after the attack.
Mr Biden was delivering remarks from Alaska as he spent the 9/11 memorial anniversary with families of victims. The president was returning from Asia, where he took a multi-day trip to attend the G20 summit.
"I remember standing there the next day,” Mr Biden said in his remarks. “I felt like I was looking through the gates of hell.”
The problem? Joe Biden was not at Ground Zero “the next day” — he was in Washington DC, where he and other members of Congress held court and delivered impassioned responses to the attack. Mr Biden himself was one of those who spoke in Washington on 12 September 2001.
To be clear, Mr Biden did visit Ground Zero shortly after the attack, while the wreckage and scenes of devastation were still fresh and the downtown area of Manhattan very much still looked like “the gates of hell”.
But it wasn’t the day-later mission that Mr Biden described, which led to Republicans accusing him of lying on social media.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) September 11, 2023
He even took criticism from Kari Lake, the conspiracy-fueled former TV anchor and failed gubernatorial candidate from Arizona who went about referring to herself as the governor of Arizona for months after her defeat.
Ms Lake, a hardcore Trump loyalist who has been spotted schmoozing on overdrive at Mar-a-Lago following her loss, took the chance to tout Donald Trump’s quick arrival to the scene — though she included a picture that was actually taken several days after the attack, prompting her tweet to be labeled with a community note clarification. Also worth mentioning: Donald Trump lived in Manhattan, the site of the attack, in 2001.
.@JoeBiden's famous "empathy" is nothing more than a series of lies, plagiarism, and grotesque distortions of his past.
Biden was nowhere near New York City the day after 9/11/01.
Do you know who was? https://t.co/NamSnL4Mke pic.twitter.com/OjaQamrvx8
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 11, 2023
Interestingly, Mr Biden’s account of the scenes at Ground Zero recycled a quote from Hillary Clinton, who first used the “gates of Hell” descriptor when she described the scene on 12 September 2001. Ms Clinton, formerly first lady, was in her first year serving as US senator from New York at the time.