Little seems sacred to President Donald Trump. In recent days, he’s turned 9/11 into a political weapon, tweeting a video that’s been viewed millions of times and counting that interspersed remarks from Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and footage from that day, seeming to implicate her in the attacks on account of her faith. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) responded to the president’s behavior this weekend, shredding the basis on which he put it. According to the Congressman, Trump quite simply has no basis to be acting as though he’s in a place to be speaking authoritatively about the 9/11 terror attacks.
Nadler told CNN’s State of the Union host Jake Tapper:
‘9/11 occurred in my district. I’m very familiar with it. I know people, a lot of people who suffered from it… The president, he wasn’t president then but Donald Trump actually took a $150,000 grant from the Bush administration. They let him take a $150,000 grant meant for small businesses for 40 Wall Street. He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could have used it to help rehabilitate himself… He has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.’
Democrat @RepJerryNadler on Trump and 9/11: “He wasn’t President then, but Donald Trump actually took a $150,000 grant from the Bush administration…for 40 Wall Street. He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could’ve used it to help rehabilitate himself.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/6z7asz8FzI
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 14, 2019
Nadler is correct that Trump took advantage of a program meant to support small businesses in the aftermath of the attacks, even after he said that the building he took it for suffered no physical damage from the calamity. 40 Wall Street, which he still owns, is under a mile away from the World Trade Center site.
Other major corporations in the area actually utilized the same program for their own local operations in the aftermath of the attack, utilizing a loophole in the distribution of the funds meant for small businesses. As Fortune has explained it, although according to no federal standard were businesses like the 40 Wall Street development “small,” the state agency that distributed the money didn’t adhere to those federal standards. The Empire State Development Corp. defined a small business at the time as one with less than 500 employees rather than the federal standard of a cap at $6 million in revenue. Thus, claiming economic hardship opened the door to cash for Trump and others — and in the time since, it’s only become abundantly more clear how easily the eventual president rushed to cooking his books. He stands credibly accused of bank, insurance, and tax fraud, and assessments he’s produced of his personal financial standing for potential partners that mischaracterize the actual situation — at best — have surfaced, providing tangible evidence.
Nadler has actually taken on this issue before. During the 2016 election season, when Donald Trump was still just a presidential candidate, he wrote an open letter calling on him to return the money. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump did no such thing, and he didn’t do the alternative Nadler presented either of donating the money to a relevant charity.
That hasn’t stopped Trump from moralizing about 9/11 all the same. The video that he tweeted tying Omar to the attacks has been seen by many as inciting violence against the Congresswoman, who has already faced serious threats multiple times from at least two different people who’ve now been arrested. It’s not clear if Trump cares.
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