Trump, Biden avoid controversy despite rival ceremonies

Republican President Donald Trump in Shanksville on September 11.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have avoided controversy. The candidates for the American presidential election generally respected, Friday, September 11, the truce represented by the commemoration of the attacks of 2001, even if rival ceremonies have started this apparent vow of unity.

After September 11, “We were united by our belief that America is the most exceptional country in the world, blessed by the most incredible heroes, and that this country is worth defending until the last breath”, said the US president from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of four flights hijacked by Al-Qaida members crashed. “It is the symbol of who we are as Americans because on that day we came together, forming one nation.”, added Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania.

He took advantage of this speech to recall that the American forces had, under his presidency, killed “The savage killer” and head of the Islamic State organization, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in October 2019, then the general and “Butcher” Iranian Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. He did not, however, mention the elimination, in May 2011, of Osama bin Laden, head of Al-Qaida and instigator of the 9/11 attacks, under the presidency of Barack Obama.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, overtaken by all his enemies

“It’s a solemn day”

New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, Jill and Joe Biden in New York on September 11.

At the same time, his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who recently stepped up the tempo of his campaign after weeks cloistered in his Delaware home, was at the Ground Zero site in New York City, amid relatives of nearly 3,000. victims of the World Trade Center attacks.

The candidate had promised, before his arrival in New York, that on this commemoration day, he would not speak “That of September 11” and that his campaign had suspended all advertising for the occasion. “It’s a solemn day, and we will make sure that it remains so”, he said, before calling, from New York, the American people to unity to face the pandemic due to the coronavirus, like the days which followed September 11.

As the loudspeakers echoed the long list of victims’ names, pre-recorded this year due to the pandemic, the 77-year-old candidate expressed his notorious empathy to a nonagenarian, who lost a son in the attacks. Pain “Never disappears”, he told her, hand on heart.

He then again underlined his experience of mourning in front of a few journalists. “I know from experience, having lost my wife, my daughter, my son, that you relive this moment, as if it happened again, it’s hard”, did he declare.

Accompanied by the Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, and other elected New York Democrats, the former vice-president of Barack Obama briefly greeted, with his elbow, the Republican vice-president, Mike Pence.

“Obvious calculations” behind these events

But less than two months before the presidential election, the polarization of the country was not forgotten: another ceremony was organized, a few streets from Ground Zero, by Republican dignitaries, to which the former mayor attended New York Republican and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as Mike Pence.

Joe Biden then went to Shanksville, just minutes after the departure of Donald Trump, returned to Washington at the end of the morning. He spoke to the families of three passengers on the United Airlines plane that crashed in Shanksville on 9/11.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden, his wife Jill, and Calvin Wilson, in Shanksville on September 11.

If these commemorations are meant to be “Devoid of political rhetoric”, they are highly publicized events and “The mere fact of being present, of showing leadership and empathy, allows you to score points”, underlines Robert Shapiro, professor of political science at Columbia University. The choice by the two candidates of Pennsylvania, where the latest polls give them neck and neck, illustrates, according to him, “The obvious calculations” behind these events.

Long Democrat, Pennsylvania, home state of Joe Biden, had switched to a narrow majority for Donald Trump in 2016, contributing to the New York mogul’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton.

Returning to the White House, Donald Trump did not wait until the end of this anniversary day to resume his attacks on the Democrats, accusing them, via Twitter, to want to use Congress to help the states where they are doing business.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also US presidential election: without a program, Donald Trump multiplies the announcements

The World with AFP


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here