President Donald Trump presided over his first 9/11 commemoration in office Monday, a solemn and nonpartisan occasion in which he will be joined by first lady Melania Trump.
The Trumps observed a moment of silence at the White House on Monday in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed when radical Islamic terrorists flew commercial airplanes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The morning remembrance were scheduled for about the time the first plane struck one of the Twin Towers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
Trump and his wife also are to pay their respects at a Pentagon ceremony led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The observances come as Trump grapples with the death and destruction caused by two hurricanes in three weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence represented the administration at an observance at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville.
A native New Yorker, Trump has a strong link with 9/11.
Trump often lauds the bravery of New York police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders who rushed to the Twin Towers, in some cases knowing they probably wouldn’t make it out alive, as an example of the resilience of the city where he made a name for himself.
But Trump has criticized former President George W. Bush’s handling of the attacks, accusing his fellow Republican of failing to keep Americans safe.
Trump has also made claims about Sept. 11 that have been heavily criticized by the mainstream media, particularly saying when talking about Muslims that “thousands of people were cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, as the towers collapsed.
The celebrations by groups of Muslims in the streets have been confirmed as true, but were smaller than Trump originally claimed. The media has repeatedly called Trump’s claims a lie.
The Associated Press contributed to this article