That’s because on 11 September, 2001, the future US president called into the TV station WWOR to talk about the day’s tragic events. Then, oddly, he turned his attention to the height of one of his properties, which he falsely claimed was now the tallest building in lower Manhattan.
“Well, it was an amazing phone call,” Mr Trump told WWOR. “I mean, 40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan. And it was actually – before the World Trade Center – was the tallest. And then when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest.”
As multiple fact checks later pointed out, this was not true. The Wall Street building had not been the tallest building in lower Manhattan in the 1970s, when the Twin Towers were constructed, nor was it the tallest in the area after 2001.
By the time of Mr Trump’s interview, both buildings of the World Trade Center had collapsed after planes hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists had smashed into them. Two other planes had also crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing everyone onboard. In total, nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.
But Mr Trump’s attention was elsewhere. Later in the interview, he complained about the closing of the New York Stock Exchange.
“I was so disappointed when they closed the stock exchange, but of course, at some point, you have no choice,” the real estate mogul said. “You want to just say, ‘The hell with it, you’re going forward, nothing’s gonna change.’ But the fact is, something has changed very dramatically.”
The interview had begun with a more predictable focus, as Mr Trump explained how he witnessed part of the attacks.
“I have a window that looks directly at the World Trade Center and I saw this huge explosion,” he said, apparently referring to his view from Trump Tower. “I was with a group of people. I really couldn’t even believe it.
“And even, I think, worse than that, for years I’ve looked right directly at the building. I’d see the Empire State Building in the foreground and the World Trade Center in the background. And now I’m looking at absolutely nothing. It’s just gone. And it’s just hard to believe.”
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