On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday night, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his NYPD commissioner of the day, Bernie Kerik, members of SEAL Team Six which killed Bin Laden, and other veterans of the war on terror gathered at Cipriani Wall Street for a night of bittersweet memories.
There were tributes to the fallen and a celebration of the “largest evacuation” in US history, with 25,000 people saved from the Twin Towers, thanks to the selfless courage of the first responders.
Giuliani praised the NYPD as “the best law enforcement agency in the world” and gave an entertaining speech full of impersonations of mobsters he has locked up and even one of the queen. “You did a wonderful job on September 11,” he mimicked the British monarch in a posh accent.
Nasty trolls on Twitter who were not at Cipriani described the speech as a drunken rant.
They couldn’t have been more wrong, but it shows the depths to which haters will stoop to besmirch what was a beautiful night for the heroes of 9/11 just blocks from “the first battleground in the last 20-year war on terror,” as Kerik put it.
Feelings were raw just two weeks after President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. The city that said it would never forget its 9/11 heroes had spent 18 months demonizing the NYPD.
And Nancy Pelosi had taken Giuliani’s usual spot in the front row at the Ground Zero memorial Saturday morning, a sign of the disrespect now heaped on the former mayor.
What was the divisive speaker from San Francisco doing on hallowed ground, anyway? Not for nothing is she the most despised politician in the country, although judging by the “F–k Joe Biden” meme catching on across the country, the president is following in her tottering footsteps.
This year of all years, it was jarring to see out-of-state leaders of the party that campaigned on “Defund the Police” elbowing aside heroes of that day to stand in posed solemnity as the names of the fallen were read aloud at Ground Zero. They may as well have spat on the graves.
At least Biden did not make a speech, because it would not have gone down well.
As it was, he was heckled when he arrived.
“Boooo,” came the voices caught on social media. “You’re a mutt for what you did to Afghanistan.” “Terrible, terrible.” “Don’t sniff em.”
But the president, who keeps downplaying the enormity of the 9/11 attacks by claiming the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was worse, seemed unchastened.
A moment of gauche levity was captured in a Getty photograph of Biden as he stood alongside Pelosi, Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. He had removed his mask, his face was animated and his mouth wide open as if he were shouting at someone opposite. Video showed him making faces at people off camera, waving and pointing in an oddly exaggerated way.
The stricken looks on the faces of everyone around him, including his wife, Jill, and Michael Bloomberg, said it all.
Biden did not make a speech at any of the three places he visited that terrible day when the Islamists struck.
He had hoped to crow about being the only president with the fortitude to end the so-called forever war, but no such luck. With the troop withdrawal a debacle, silence was his only option.
When Donald Trump visited a firehouse in Midtown on Saturday he was greeted with cheers like an old friend, and asked rhetorically why Biden didn’t give a speech. The firefighters had a few suggestions. “No teleprompter” was the most polite.
Unfortunately, Biden could not keep silent, and on his third stop of the day, in Shanksville, Pa., where the third hijacked plane, United 93, crashed in a field, he expressed his displeasure at the criticism amid his plummeting poll numbers.
In an impromptu chat with reporters, he complained about protesters reportedly brandishing signs that said “F–k Biden.”
“I’m thinking of, you know, what the people who died, what would they be thinking. They think this makes sense for us to be in this kind of thing where you ride down the street and someone has a sign saying ‘Eff so and so?’ I mean, it’s not who we are.”
Says who? What does he expect when he harangues Americans and demonizes those who didn’t vote for him, running roughshod over the Constitution like a tinpot dictator?
What does he expect when he ran as the “unity” president and then has done nothing but divide us into warring tribes, race against race, state against state, vaccinated against unvaccinated?
“Our patience is wearing thin,” he thundered last week in his vaccine mandate speech.
He has a hide to lecture anyone, as the incompetence of his presidency piles tragedy upon humiliation, from Afghanistan to the southern border. He should be begging for forgiveness, not angrily berating us from the White House.
If “F–k Biden” was a meme before that killjoy speech, it thereafter became the anthem of a younger generation, whose patience really has worn thin after their lives were curtailed for 18 months by a virus which barely touches them, after their sacrifices in war were squandered, and the promise of adult government collapsed in ruins around Biden’s feet.
“F–k Joe Biden” was the chorus at the Yankees-Mets game Saturday night, too.
It’s crude and rude but it’s a message the White House ought to heed if the country is to get back on track.
Then again, maybe Biden is in charge. Maybe the people in his administration are ciphers who obey his orders and he is resistant to advice he doesn’t like.
If that dawning realization proves correct, then we are all helpless passengers as he steers us over a cliff.