Joe Biden’s unprecedented decision not to mark the anniversary of 9/11 at one of the three crash sites left Vice President Kamala Harris filling in at the Ground Zero ceremony in New York on Monday.
Biden infuriated families of the 2,977 killed by the hijackers by becoming the first president not to visit Manhattan, the Pentagon, or Shanksville, Pennsylvania to remember the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
Instead he will spend just two hours at Joint Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska with service members and first responders on his way home from a 24-hour trip to Vietnam dominated by a shambolic and rambling press conference.
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
Biden’s plans on Monday not only snub victims and their families, but also marks the first time a president has not attended one of the anniversary services at Ground Zero, the Pentagon or in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – or at least hosted a memorial service at the White House, which Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama each did during one year of their terms in office.
Former New York City Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg were spotted at the service on Monday morning. Giuliani, now embroiled in election-related legal scandal, was mayor during the time of the attacks. His term ended just months after the attack and he was succeeded by Bloomberg.
Bill de Blasio, another former NYC Mayor, was also at the services at Ground Zero.
While Harris was seen speaking with Bloomberg and de Blasio in New York City on Monday, she avoided Trump ally Giuliani.
Harris was also spotted Monday interacting with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state’s Attorney General Letitia James.
Biden’s stop over in Alaska Monday coincides with a refueling layover as Biden returns from a five-day trip to India and Vietnam.
Also on Monday, Biden held a bizarre press conference in Vietnam where he once again featured some of the potential liabilities some Democrats are fretting over amid concerns about his age and performance.
It featured a series of odd moments, including when Biden called on reporters from a prepared list. His Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also cut off the event, then he came back to address reporters briefly while jazz music was being piped over a sound system.
He told a long story about a John Wayne movie where he spoke about cowboys and ‘Indians,’ then went back to a tale about the phrase ‘lying dog faced pony soldiers’ that he used then and has used previously.
The White House released Biden’s September 11 schedule Sunday night, after the President spent two days in New Delhi, India for the G20 Leaders ‘ Summit and then traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, as the United States’ diplomatic status was elevated with the Asian nation.
Biden won’t memorialize the terror attacks until he lands in Alaska – hours after the Twin Towers were hit 22 years prior.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shared only vague details on how Biden would mark the solemn anniversary once the Vietnam leg of the Asia trip was added on.
VP Harris’ schedule was also vague, just noting she would spend the morning attending the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.
The ceremony is held every year at Ground Zero to honor the nearly 3,000 killed on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is typically Air Force One’s refueling stop. The stops there usually last around 90 minutes as the president’s plane is filled with gas.