On Monday, President Donald Trump signed legislation to ensure financial support to first responders and their families via the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which will now remain solvent through 2092. The legislation had wide bipartisan support and the president’s comments were well received by those in attendance at the White House Rose Garden.
But Vox reporter Aaron Rupar was quick to turn the unifying moment partisan by explicitly lying about Trump’s comments.
“Trump suggests that he was a 9/11 First Responder,” Rupar captioned a video of the president.
The video, however, does not reflect the caption. Here’s what Trump actually said (emphasis added): “Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers, and other first responders. And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time there with you.”
Rupar was quickly called out. The New York Post’s Joe Levine, for example, posted: “Trump: ‘I’m not considering myself a first responder’ Vox: ‘Trump suggests that he was a 9/11 first responder.'”
Journalist Tim Pool wrote, “I mean, he literally says the opposite of what you tweeted “and I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder.”
“Another ‘Journalist’ at Vox,” host Dave Rubin mocked, adding, “(Watch the 13 second video, it’s quite literally the reverse of what Trump says.)”
Rupar omitted his false caption from his write-up on the president’s “incredibly gauche” comments, instead focusing on Trump’s apparent role in post-9/11 rescue and rebuilding efforts.
“[D]uring brief remarks before the ceremonial signing, Trump suggested, without evidence, that he was ‘down there’ at ground zero in New York City with first responders in the days after the attack on the World Trade Center,” said Rupar.
Trump has said that he helped “a little” in the days following the attack and with the rebuilding process. Left-wing fact-checking site Snopes gave an “unproven” rating to the claim: “Donald Trump and hundreds of his workers helped search the rubble for survivors after the September 11 terrorist attacks in Lower Manhattan.” Though the site did establish that a photo of Trump used in a popular meme was taken at Ground Zero seven days following the attack.
“The Victim Compensation Fund was initially created in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda operated terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans and injured more than 6,000 more,” The Daily Wire’s Molly Prince reported on Monday. “The fund compensates individuals who suffered physical harm as a result of the attacks. It grants financial support for those who lost loved ones as a result of the attacks, as well as providing pensions for those suffering from illnesses that stem from exposure to toxic debris in the attacks’ aftermath.”
“The first responders from across the country rushed to New York and worked endless days and sleepless nights. They fought to rescue every person trapped in the rubble, and then searched for months to find the remains of the fallen,” Trump praised 9/11 heroes before signing the legislation.
“The love and loyalty of our 9/11 responders knew no bounds. Today, we are deeply honored to be in the presence of more than 60 of these exceptional heroes. They answered terror with the emotional strength of true American warriors,” he said, adding, “You inspire all of humanity.”