As Trump marks 9/11, report finds he's withheld millions from sick first responders

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Trump's Treasury Department kept $4 million in funds meant to treat firefighters and paramedics who got sick with 9/11-related illnesses.

On the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Daily News is reporting that the Trump administration has withheld roughly $4 million in funds allocated to cover health care costs for firefighters and other first responders who got sick after responding to the attacks.

"Here we have sick World Trade Center-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and we're not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes," Dr. David Prezant, the FDNY’s chief medical officer and director of the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program, said.

The report comes as Donald Trump and Mike Pence mark the anniversary of the attacks, which killed 2,977 people at three different sites: the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C.; and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers on a hijacked plane prevented it from being used as a missile against its original target.

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Trump, for his part, already has a checkered past when it comes to his response to 9/11.

Hours after the Twin Towers fell, Trump called in to a local television station to brag that he now had the tallest tower in lower Manhattan — a tone-deaf claim that was inaccurate.

Trump also claimed to have personally spent "a lot of time" at Ground Zero helping in clean-up efforts, and that he, as well as "a couple hundred people" he sent, helped with recovery.

However, Politifact could not find evidence that Trump did any of those things.

Politifact interviewed Richard Alles, a NYFD battalion chief on 9/11, who questioned Trump's account, saying that if Trump had sent workers "there would be a record of it."

"I was there for several months — I have no knowledge of his being down there," Alles said.

Trump also claimed that he got $150,000 in relief funds for helping with 9/11 recovery work. The Daily News reported that his company requested the money for "rent loss," "cleanup," and "repair," and called his claim, "just a huge lie."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.