On the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 – this time on a Sunday – Americans were supposed to feel sad and resolute and determined, and united. But that gets harder each year. The Iraq war didn’t fix anything. The war we neglected as not as important as dealing with Saddam Hussein – the war we had already started in Afghanistan – also didn’t fix anything. And that’s still going on. Bush said we’d get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, but he punted on that. Obama sent in the Seal Team that finally took care of that fellow, but that too didn’t do any good. Al Qaeda didn’t matter anymore – ISIS did. Osama was old news. Nothing did any good. It’s hard to feel resolute and determined and united when nothing we try works very well. That leaves only sadness, and anger at anyone who says we now have to do this or that or some other thing. What do THEY know? What does anyone know?
Determination and unity are long gone. Americans have gone back to tearing each other apart, now over other things:
High school football players across the US followed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and declined to stand for the national anthem Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
It appears that Kaepernick has started a movement with his silent protest during the national anthem during a pre-season game on August 26. Kaepernick said his “taking a knee” was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States.
That’s followed by photograph after photograph confirming that happened and by this from Alabama’s Birmingham News:
The announcer of the Friday night football game at McKenzie High School in Alabama’s Butler County had something to say to those who may choose not to stand for the national anthem.
“If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you,” the announcer said at the game versus Houston County High School, according to Facebook poster Denise Crowley-Whitfield.
Crowley-Whitfield said the crowd went “crazy cheering” following the speech.
The announcer was identified as Pastor Allen Joyner, of Sweet Home Baptist Church in McKenzie, according to Joyner’s relatives and friends, who also posted to Facebook and praised the statement.
Crowley-Whitfield’s post was shared more than 4,700 times and received more than 50 comments, all positive, before she deleted her Facebook account on Saturday afternoon.
America could argue about that on 9/11 Sunday, and did – at least there was something that could be done, shoot the kids or not – but this is an election year and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had to say something about what happened in New York fifteen years ago. They have to prove they “get it” – whatever that may mean – and Philip Bump noted that Donald Trump started early, with this in April:
Donald Trump has gotten a lot of attention over the past 12 hours for referring to the Sept. 11 terror attacks as “7/11” during a speech in Buffalo. It’s an awkward, amusing slip-up – but it’s just a slip-up.
More interesting, perhaps, is something he said shortly afterward.
Trump was talking about “New York values” – a means of dismissing Ted Cruz in Trump’s home state. As he did during the debate where Cruz first made the point, Trump was using the attacks as a way of espousing what it is that New Yorkers stand for. Unusually for him, he was reading from a sheet of paper.
Then he offered this aside.
“Everyone who helped clear the rubble – and I was there, and I watched, and I helped a little bit – but I want to tell you: Those people were amazing,” Trump said. “Clearing the rubble. Trying to find additional lives. You didn’t know what was going to come down on all of us – and they handled it.”
That modifier “a little bit” does a lot of work…
Bump goes on to show that Trump did not clear any rubble – he showed up in a suit and tie from time to time and gave interviews to news organizations. Bump asked the Trump campaign to clarify his aside. They had no comment. Why mess up a good story? Keep that image out there.
At Politico, however, Michael Kruse dives deep and explains what really happened that day:
Hours after terrorists piloted hijacked jets into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, Donald Trump agreed to do a live phone interview on local television in New York. Alan Marcus, who was working that day for WWOR as an on-air analyst, asked the real estate mogul to step into a role that seemed fanciful at the time.
“In the year 2000, Donald,” said Marcus, a former Trump publicist, consultant and friend, “you considered running for president. If you had done that, and if you had been successful, what do you think you’d be doing right now?”
“Well,” Trump answered, “I’d be taking a very, very tough line. I mean, you know, most people feel they know at least approximately the group of people that did this and where they are. But boy would you have to take a hard line on this. This just can’t be tolerated.”
That sounds presidential, in a George Bush kind of way, but then there was this:
Only parenthetically in the middle of the ten-minute conversation did Trump turn to a favorite topic – size. “40 Wall Street,” he said, referring to his 71-story building blocks away from the now-collapsed twin towers, “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.”
Marcus chalked up the remark to “Donald being Donald. … He is the brand manager of Trump, and he is going to tout that brand, and he does it reflexively,” he said. “Even on that day.”
And as for that day, which Kruse covers in detail, there was this about Trump, and Hillary Clinton, then the newly-elected senator from New York:
Trump was in New York, on Fifth Avenue in Trump Tower, where he works and lives, and he watched first on TV and then out his windows, staring four miles south at the black smoke in the blue sky.
“We saw it,” said George Ross, a longtime attorney for Trump and an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. “We saw it out the window. I was sitting in his office.” Ross described the mood in the office as “unbelief.”
“We were listening to the news, like everybody else,” he said.
Clinton, meanwhile, was down in Washington, at her home on Whitehaven. She had CNN on as she talked on the phone with her legislative director when the first plane hit. Then the second. By the time she got to the Capitol, the Pentagon had been hit by a third plane. Capitol police were evacuating Senate office buildings. She dialed her daughter, who was in New York. She dialed her husband, who was in Australia. She and other senators received a briefing at the Capitol police station early in the evening. And after “a day indelibly etched in my mind,” and as nightfall approached, Clinton joined congressional colleagues on the steps of the Capitol, standing next to some of her fiercest political opponents, singing “God Bless America” with tears in her eyes.
That a bit of a contrast, as is this nugget:
The night of September 10, 2001, Trump was at a Marc Jacobs fashion show in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, cheering from the front row he shared with Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker and Monica Lewinsky.
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown was there, too, and spotted his “bobbing-custard comb-over,” she would write later in the Washington Post.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Bigger than ever,” he said.
The next morning, Trump stayed in his apartment in Trump Tower longer than normal, he would tell shock jock Howard Stern, because he wanted to watch a TV interview with Jack Welch, who had retired as the CEO of General Electric and had a new business book he was publicizing called Straight from the Gut. News programming broke in after the first plane hit.
But Clinton showed up on-site as soon as she could:
On the ground, wearing a surgical mask, the caustic air burned her lungs and eyes as she toured the disaster site with New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor George Pataki. She caught the last train out of Penn Station before it closed for the night.
Two days after the attacks, in a private meeting with Republican and Democratic colleagues at the Capitol, she described what she had seen, according to the New York Daily News, choking back tears. Later, she met with the president in the Oval Office, her first visit there since she was First Lady, along with Schumer wrangling from Bush a commitment for $20 billion of federal aid for New York alone – $11 billion of which was ultimately provided. Clinton told Bush, Frank Bruni would write, “that few people could understand the loneliness of the White House, but that she did, and she wanted him to know that.”
As that was happening in Washington, Trump was in New York, spotted walking near Ground Zero, according to Newsday, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and red tie and talking into his cell phone. “No, no,” he was overheard saying. “The building’s gone.”
She was a public official, trying to get federal aid for her state right away. He was private citizen, looking befuddled, and add this:
On Monday of the following week, she traveled to New York, where she was on hand to re-open the New York Stock Exchange.
Trump that day talked on the phone to a reporter from the New York Post about what should happen at Ground Zero.
“Once they get it cleared – and that is going to be a very long process – we will all have a better idea of what can be done on the site,” he said. “The current mindset is to put up new towers, and I agree with that.”
But they shouldn’t be exact replicas, he added.
“To be blunt, they were not great buildings,” Trump said. “They only became great upon their demise last Tuesday.”
Well, he knows a great building when sees one, one that he’s built, but the contrasts with Clinton continue:
In an interview on NPR, she said, “I hope that we would use our strength and our success to build a more peaceful world where we have more partners instead of terrorists, where we recognize that with great power does come great responsibility, and that we would pass on to our children an appreciation for the extraordinary blessings that we enjoy and sometimes take for granted here in our country…”
Trump that day was not on NPR. He was on Howard Stern’s show. It’s an interview that’s gotten a lot of attention of late because Stern asked Trump if he was in favor of invading Iraq, and Trump responded, “Yeah, I guess so.” Throughout this campaign Trump has insisted – contrary to that statement – that he always opposed the invasion. But before Stern asked him that, the provocative host asked him something else.
“Probably the most important question I can ask you on a day like today is: Where is Melania, and is she naked?” Stern said.
“Well,” Trump responded, as the names of the dead were being read at Ground Zero, “Melania is now in bed – I’m in my office – and as to whether or not she’s naked, I’m not 100 percent sure.”
He is a crass man. All of this should have buried him, but then 9/11 fell apart for Hillary Clinton this year:
Hillary Clinton’s abrupt departure from a Sept. 11 ceremony in New York after falling ill Sunday and the subsequent disclosure that she is suffering from pneumonia are likely to intensify scrutiny on the Democratic nominee’s health and potentially inject a new campaign issue into a race between two of the oldest candidates ever to seek the White House.
Clinton supporters had long dismissed concerns about her health as baseless, insisting that she only suffered from allergies. But Sunday’s incident – along with a video appearing to show Clinton having difficulty standing on her own – will only amplify such questions just as the race enters its final weeks.
The incident also could increase pressure on Clinton, 68, and Republican nominee Donald Trump, 70, to release more information about their health. Clinton has disclosed less than some previous candidates. Donald Trump has released almost nothing.
“This is the kind of thing that voters have a right to understand before they cast a vote,” said Katie Packer, a GOP strategist who says she does not support either Trump or Clinton.
“Both Trump and Hillary are elderly. They are obligated to release full medical records and full tax returns to the American people. And the media, party leaders and American people should settle for nothing less.”
But he’s fine and she isn’t, and at least the traffic out here in Los Angeles won’t take a hit:
After the incident, Clinton’s campaign said late Sunday it was canceling a planned trip to California on Monday and Tuesday for fundraisers and a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Ellen DeGeneres’ show is taped over the hill out back in Burbank. Traffic will be fine, but this health stuff won’t be:
“Forty-eight hours ago, this was something for the Flat Earth Society and the birth certificate deniers,” Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said of the speculation about Clinton’s health. “Now it’s a topic of legitimate, mainstream political discussion.”
And, as they say, it’s trending:
For Clinton, perhaps the most damaging part of the day was the 19-second video of her struggling to leave the event in New York City. The video, quickly circulated online and replayed on cable news channels, shows her standing uneasily, her knees appearing to buckle and needing help to get into her van.
That fits the narrative:
Clinton’s health has long been the speculation of conspiracy theorists. In 2014, a People magazine cover of Clinton in her backyard leaning on a chair prompted speculation that she was leaning on a walker.
But innuendo about her health grew markedly during the presidential campaign as Trump and his surrogates, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, routinely questioned her strength and stamina on the campaign trail…
Republicans have also pointed to coughing fits that Clinton has suffered while campaigning, and which she attributes to seasonal allergies. Her opponents have also raised questions about the effect of a concussion she sustained in 2012.
The drumbeat got to the point that Clinton poked fun at it on late-night television. During an August appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” she pretended to exert great effort as she opened a jar of pickles and asked the host to check her pulse.
Clinton dismissed the attacks as “wacky” and noted that critics have claimed “I would be dead in six months,” she said. “So with every breath I take I feel like I have a new lease on life.”
Sure, but fifteen years ago, Donald Trump was clearing rubble at Ground Zero, lifting steel beams off gravely injured persons with his bare hands, saving their lives, even if he wasn’t. Hillary Clinton stumbled and nearly passed out at Ground Zeno fifteen years later. Case closed. She just lost this election, except there was this:
Clinton spent about two hours at Chelsea Clinton’s apartment and emerged shortly before noon wearing sunglasses, greeting a young girl and waved at diners at a nearby restaurant.
“I’m feeling great. It’s a beautiful day in New York,” Clinton said before heading to her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
Her personal physician examined her at her house Sunday afternoon and said Clinton was recovering.
“While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely,” said Dr. Lisa R. Bardack in a statement. Bardack said Clinton was put on antibiotics Friday.
That should fix the problem, unless that woman in sunglasses was a body-double. Expect to hear that, or expect what Kevin Drum expects:
Washington Post: This makes Clinton’s health a genuine issue.
Charles Krauthammer: She should have told us hours earlier than she did. Is there nothing the Clintons won’t lie about?
Vox: Here’s a pneumonia explainer.
Wall Street Journal: Can Hillary keep up the pace on campaign trail?
Fox News All-Stars: William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after 32 days in office.
Don Lemon: Is it possible Clinton actually has Ebola?
Time: New focus on Kaine as Clinton struggles with health.
@realDonaldTrump: Hillary tried to hide sickness. But I’ve been warning about her health for months. Need more transparency!
@KatrinaPierson: Doctors say it might actually be cystic fibrosis or lung cancer. Public deserves full medical workup.
@RogerJStoneJr: Hillary has Legionnaires’ disease.
National Enquirer: Hillary Clinton given months to live by docs.
New York Times: Questions raised about Clinton diagnosis.
Facebook News: Trending topics: How long does Hillary have to live?
Politico: Will Clinton recover in time for debate?
That sounds about right, although Drum adds this:
The real story, of course, is that she caught pneumonia. It’s a common illness, and antibiotics should get rid of it pretty quickly. Even during a presidential campaign it’s a fairly ordinary kind of story. But the talking heads need more than that to talk about. We need some kind of morality play. We need the “real questions this raises.” We need analysis. We need daily updates, accompanied by slo-mo analysis of Clinton’s latest walk to her car. So we’ll get them. Sigh.
And if that doesn’t end her chance to win in November then this will:
Hillary Clinton on Saturday issued a statement saying that she regrets saying that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are in what she called a “basket of deplorables.”
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ – that was wrong,” Clinton said in a Saturday afternoon statement.
Still, she won’t back down:
“But let’s be clear, what’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values. It’s deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people,” she said. “It’s deplorable that he’s attacked a federal judge for his ‘Mexican heritage,’ bullied a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith, and promoted the lie that our first black president is not a true American.”
“So I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign,” she continued in the statement. “I also meant what I said last night about empathy, and the very real challenges we face as a country where so many people have been left out and left behind. As I said, many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them.”
That clarified things, but Trump had already tweeted this – “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard-working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”
The Trump campaign then amplified that:
“Just when Hillary Clinton said she was going to start running a positive campaign, she ripped off her mask and revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans. Tonight’s comments were more than another example of Clinton lying to the country about her emails, jeopardizing our national security, or even calling citizens ‘super-predators’ – this was Clinton, as a defender of Washington’s rigged system – telling the American public that she could [not] care less about them,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
“And what’s truly deplorable isn’t just that Hillary Clinton made an inexcusable mistake in front of wealthy donors and reporters happened to be around to catch it, it’s that Clinton revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America,” he added.
And so on and so forth. Of course they’d say such things. This too could lose her the election – except that all those hard-working Americans who were so insulted have been told to blame everything on Muslims and “Mexicans” and those Black Lives Matter thugs who want to kill policemen, and Colin Kaepernick and gays too – and they do. They were never going to vote for Hillary anyway. Those who feel sympathy for those not exactly like them were never going to vote for Trump. This may change nothing, and as for her health, a few antibiotics should take care of the current problem and she’ll be fine. How long does she have to live? Too long for the Trump folks – but she’s not going anywhere.
Maybe this wasn’t the weekend she lost the election.