OCALA, Fla. — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told supporters at a Donald Trump campaign rally on Wednesday he could not recall seeing Democrat Hillary Clinton the day of the 9/11 attacks, spurring an avalanche of Twitter users to post photos of the two elected officials touring Ground Zero side-by-side the day after.
“Yes, yes you helped to get benefits for the people who were injured that day,” Giuliani said of Clinton, who served as a U.S. senator from New York at the time of the attack. “But I heard her say she was there that day. I was there that day; I don’t remember seeing Hillary Clinton.”
Hours later, Giuliani took back his comments.
“I made a mistake. I’m wrong and I apologize,” Giuliani told The Associated Press.
Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer arrived in Manhattan a day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, having been caught in Washington D.C. after planes were grounded. They returned to New York aboard one of the few government planes given clearance to fly, according to news media accounts from the period.
On Wednesday, as Clinton supporters got wind of Giuliani’s remarks on social media, they began posting photographs aimed at his Twitter profile. The photos showed Giuliani, Clinton, and a bipartisan group of elected officials, including then-Republican Gov. George Pataki, touring the rubble while wearing breathing masks.
Clinton on the campaign trail has often touted working with Giuliani and Pataki and other Republicans to provide federal relief to the city and state in the wake of the attacks.
“It was also my job and the job of other officials to get our city and state and country what we needed,” Clinton told CNN last month before the 15th anniversary of the attacks.
Giuliani, at the rally, criticized Clinton for trying to tout her work responding to the attacks.
“I lost so many friends on September 11th,” he said. “I think about it every day. Don’t tell me you belong to our very, very tight group of ‘never forget.’ ”