The White House confirmed that President Joe Biden won’t deliver a live address to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Saturday.
Biden is traveling to three memorial sites in Pennsylvania, New York, and near Washington D.C. to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks
“The events are not set up that way,” White House press secretary Psaki said when asked Thursday about whether the president will deliver an address.
Instead, she said, Biden will release a video “in advance that will be available” on Saturday.
Biden is “attending an event with several other former presidents and of course former prominent officials in the morning in New York, in order to get to all of the events it just doesn’t work that way,” Psaki continued.
According to a schedule provided by the White House, the president will travel to the World Trade Center memorial in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon Memorial in Virginia, and the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania.
“Twenty years ago, the United States endured one of the most unconscionable tragedies in our country’s history. The cowardly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and onboard United Flight 93 cut short the lives of 2,977 innocent people,” Biden said in a statement on Friday. “These attacks tore a hole in the heart of our Nation, and the pain of this tragedy still remains. Each year on this somber date, we remember the horror and bravery shown that day, just as we remember how we came together, united in grief and in purpose.”
In recent weeks, Biden has faced blowback from even members of the Democratic Party for his administration’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some accused the administration of turning a blind eye to Americans who remain trapped inside the country after it was taken over by the Taliban, and others have said that the optics around the military pullout and chaotic evacuation damaged the United States’ standing among its allies.
Family members of the Sept. 11 victims recently urged Biden to release declassified documents that allegedly link the terrorist attacks to the Saudi government and one group said that he shouldn’t attend any of their memorials if he doesn’t. Several days ago, Biden announced he would direct the Justice Department to declassify some documents related to the attacks in a move that drew praise from some of the families’ groups.
Former President Donald Trump delivered remarks at a Pentagon memorial to mark Sept. 11 in 2017 and 2019, and he delivered speeches at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Former President Barack Obama also spoke at several Sept. 11 events on the previous anniversary of the attacks.
Last year on Sept. 11, Biden appeared at a memorial event in New York City along with former Vice President Mike Pence, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others.