Trump meets first responders in NY on anniversary of 9/11

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE made surprise visits to New York City police and fire stations on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, offering brief remarks and posing for pictures as he greeted first responders.

Trump, who did not join President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE or a number of his predecessors at any of the memorial ceremonies held at the sites of the devastating plane attacks Saturday, stopped in at a New York City Police Department station in Manhattan to speak to a group of officers he called “incredible people.” 

“What an incredible job you do,” he said. “I grew up with you, and you are New York’s finest.” 

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The former president went on to praise the Police Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, which in the months ahead of the November 2020 election backed Trump, breaking a long-standing tradition of not issuing presidential endorsements.

“First time they’ve ever endorsed a candidate for president,” Trump said Saturday. “And it’s a great honor.”

“Having that endorsement meant more to me than anything, so I really appreciate it,” he added. 

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When asked if he was planning to run again for the Oval Office in 2024, Trump responded by saying it was “an easy question.”

“I know what I’m going to do,” he told police officers, adding, “I think you’re going to be happy.” 

Trump, who told Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityTrump says Rittenhouse met with him in Florida Cheney knocks Ted Cruz: 'A real man would be defending his wife' Rittenhouse's mother asks for donations to legal fund MORE in July that he had made a decision on whether to run again, explained Saturday that he could not yet reveal his plans, citing restrictions from campaign finance laws. 

Videos and photos circulated on social media also showed Trump greeting a group of cheering firefighters at a New York City Fire Department station, with some gathering around the former president to pose for pictures. 

The visits, which were not previously announced to the public, come after Trump released a two-minute video Saturday marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in which he blasted the Biden administration for its handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

“This is the 20th year of this war and should have been a year of victory and honor and strength,” Trump said in the video shared by his Save America PAC. 

“Instead, Joe Biden and his inept administration surrendered in defeat,” argued Trump, who himself long advocated for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Biden as well as former Presidents Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush each participated in at least one of the memorial services Saturday held in New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.

Bush, who was president at the time of the terror attacks, said in an address from Shanksville on Saturday that the soldiers who participated in U.S. military operations in Afghanistan over the past two decades “have been the face of hope and mercy in dark places.” 

“Nothing that has followed, nothing, can tarnish your honor or diminish your accomplishments,” he added.