President Joe Biden is taking fire from some families of 9/11 victims for being the first president in 22 years to not spend 9/11 at an attack site or at the White House, according to a report.
Families slammed Biden for spending 9/11 in Alaska, where he is following a trip to India and Vietnam to discuss climate change, Fox & Friends First reported Monday. He will be at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Biden did, however, visit a memorial for the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in Vietnam on Monday, kissing the memorial and telling reporters traveling with him that it was important that he visit the site, as McCain was a “good friend.”
Watch the video here:
TODAY: President Biden visited a memorial for the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in Vietnam. pic.twitter.com/hdkofxdX9P
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 11, 2023
“It’s no surprise to me that he’s not coming to Ground Zero or any of the 9/11 sites,” retired Air Force Lt. Col. Donald Arias, who lost his brother Adam during the attacks, said on the show.
He added, “And quite frankly, I prefer he stay away anyway. We will be spared one of his stories of how he can relate, like he did with the people of Lahaina, how he can relate because of a kitchen fire. We can do without that.”
Arias was referring to Biden visiting survivors of the Lahaina fire, saying he could relate because he “almost” lost his home. According to a report, a small kitchen fire occurred at his home that was contained within 20 minutes, compared to the fire that killed more than 100 in one day.
Terry Strada, who lost her husband Tom at the World Trade Center, said Biden’s decision not to spend 9/11 at the White House or an attack site is “the opposite of what we’ve all pledged to never forget.”
“He is now just saying that flippantly that he doesn’t have to come to any of the sites and commemorate the loss with the families. That’s terrible,” she said, according to the show.
Matt Bocchi, the son of 9/11 victim John Bocchi, said Biden’s decision was evidence of an “unfortunate reality” that “Americans have forgotten.”
“If our leader is so willing to not show up to the memorial service, it’s showing the message that Americans have forgotten and that it’s OK to forget,” he said. “Unfortunately for myself and for all the other families and those joining with us this morning, we have no way of forgetting.”
“This is something that forever changed our lives and this is something that we’re going to live with forever, even if the rest of the country can let this be a day that they do forget,” Bocchi said.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press conference three days ago, stammering at the end:
On 9/11, look, the President is going to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks this year in Alaska, as you just mentioned, with — with service members and their families.
And, as he does every year, as he’s done the — every year, he plans to honor the lives lost and the families and loved ones who still feel the pain of the terrible day. This is something he feels is very important to do. We can only imagine the heartbreak and the pain that the 9/11 families have felt every day for the past 22 years.
“So, I know the families have — have certain- — certainly been on this — on his mind recent- — in recent days, and they will continue be on — to be on his mind as we approach the anniversary, as you know, is coming up on Monday,” Jean-Pierre concluded.