Schumer remembers 9/11: ‘Oh my God, this is World War III’

Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrives to the Capitol on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 as the Senate will vote today on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and begin amendment votes for the budget resolution.
Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recalled the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that occurred 20 years ago, saying that at the time, he thought the events would bring about another world conflict. 

During an interview on Cats Roundtable on WABC 770 AM, Schumer recalled being in the House gym when news broke that a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

“People thought it was a little prop plane that crashed in,” Schumer said. “And then we were watching and watching what’s happening and then we see another plane crash in. And everyone knows now this is serious and horrible.”

The New York Democrat said that when he got dressed and went to his car he saw smoke coming from the Pentagon.

“I quickly shower, get dressed I get in my car and I see a plane flying low over the Potomac. And then I see smoke right where the Pentagon is,” he continued. “And I said to myself, ‘Oh my God. This is World War III.’”

Schumer also reflected on the next day, when he accompanied then-President George W. Bush and then- Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to New York City.

“The most sad thing that I will never forget that I think of every day, is that there was a line of maybe 1,000 or 2,000 people lined up with forlorn looks on their faces holding up pictures. ‘Have you seen my husband, Bill?’ ‘Have you seen my daughter, Mary?’ No one knew who was alive and who wasn’t,” Schumer said.

When he went back to Washington the next day, Schumer said he asked Bush for $20 billion to help New York, which the president granted.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, New York really needs $20 billion for New York in addition to the money you’re allocating for the rest of the country,” Schumer said. “He said, ‘You’ve got it.’ And I saw the collective jaws of his staff just drop.”

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack that took nearly 3,000 lives, the vast majority of which were in New York. 

Two hijacked planes struck the twin towers in New York City, and another hit the Pentagon as part of coordinated attacks. A fourth plane went down in a field near Shanksville, Pa. after passengers and flight crew foiled what was believed to be a plan to to fly the plane into the Capitol building in D.C. 

The full interview between Catsimatidis and Schumer will air Sunday.

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