It was one of the few moments in recent American history capable of bringing together individuals from across the political spectrum — but 22 years after the 9/11 attacks, many on the left have forgotten or chosen to ignore the lessons of that tragic day.
That was the argument made recently by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who cited the nation’s porous border as a continuing threat to the homeland. The Biden administration’s refusal to provide security and enforce existing immigration laws, he said, “has made us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.”
Even Democrats like New York City Mayor Eric Adams have acknowledged that the individuals illegally crossing into the U.S. are not just from Mexico and Central America but from nations around the globe.
Based on that fact, DeSantis said that “there is a good bet that somebody that’s come across that border will commit an act of terrorism.”
In fact, he noted that 9/11 itself “was in part an immigration issue” since many of those who perpetrated the attacks were in the nation illegally on expired visas.
It was that crisis, DeSantis said, that convinced him to “put service above self” and join the military. Prior to 9/11, he noted that most Americans “didn’t really have much of a care in the world” but that the attacks served as a “big dose of reality” and a “wake-up call” about the dangers that lurk around the world and even within the U.S.
He went on to state that his military service gave him “perspective” that would suit him well if elected president. The only veteran in the GOP presidential primary field, DeSantis used the distinction to separate himself from his rivals during last month’s debate.
“I’m somebody that volunteered to serve, inspired by September 11th,” he said at the time. “That is how I would view being president of the United States. It’s not about me. It’s not about all these other side issues. My sole focus would be on your future and reversing this country’s decline.”
He and his wife, Casey, visited the World Trade Center memorial on Monday to honor the lives lost 22 years earlier.
🔥HAPPENING NOW! Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis attend 9/11 memorial service at Ground Zero in New York Citypic.twitter.com/rEjSpFIbVB
— Chris Nelson 🇺🇸 🏝 (@ReOpenChris) September 11, 2023
Other GOP presidential hopefuls also commemorated the anniversary, including front-runner Donald Trump, who posted a social media video declaring: “We remember the 2977 precious souls who were savagely taken from us on that morning 22 years ago, leaving a void that can never be filled can never be filled — no matter what happens it can never be filled. We will say a prayer for each of the beautiful families they left behind whose pain is beyond comprehension.”