Neither of the two New Yorkers vying for the White House is expected to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terror attacks with a visit to ground zero
NEW YORK — Neither of the two New Yorkers vying for the White House is expected to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terror attacks with a visit to ground zero.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not slated to attend the annual commemoration at the World Trade Center on Sunday, a spokesman for the memorial told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"We have not heard from either presidential candidate, nor the president of the United States, that they will be attending," according to Michael Frazier of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
There is precedent for presidential candidates to visit the former ground zero on the anniversary of the terror attacks. In 2008, the last time an incumbent wasn't running for the White House, Barack Obama and John McCain set aside their political differences to make a joint appearance at the site in New York.
Four years later, Obama marked the event at the Pentagon while his challenger Mitt Romney thanked first responders in Illinois and Nevada.
Neither Clinton nor Trump has released their public schedule for Sunday but both campaigns have confirmed they intend to halt television ads for the anniversary, keeping with a tradition of avoiding partisan presidential politics on 9/11.
Officials at the September 11th Memorial & Museum in New York have said that they did not extend formal invitations to either candidate or to the sitting president, in keeping with past practice. But, officials said they would welcome a visit from either candidate or the president should they choose to attend the commemoration.
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Republican nominee, confirmed that Trump will not be campaigning that day but declined to provide any details as to his whereabouts or if he planned to mark the anniversary.
Clinton last attended the ground zero commemoration on the tenth anniversary of the attacks in 2011, when she was secretary of state. A spokeswoman for Clinton declined to comment about the Democratic nominee's plans that day.
Trump and Clinton are the first New Yorkers to become their parties' nominees for president since nearly 3,000 people died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Both candidates have made their experiences that day part of their campaign narratives.
Clinton was senator from New York at the time of the attacks and has frequently highlighted her efforts — including at her party's convention this summer — to aid those affected by the World Trade Center collapse. She made frequent trips to the attack site and her staff has highlighted her efforts to help secure medical benefits for first responders sickened at ground zero.
Trump, meanwhile, has said he donated construction equipment to the recovery effort and gave $100,000 to the memorial after touring it for the first time earlier this year. But he also received widespread criticism for claiming that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated when the towers toppled, a claim for which there is no proof.
New York typically goes Democratic in the general election though Trump has pledged to put up a fight for his native state. But while he easily won the New York state primary in April, he lost Manhattan to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The lower Manhattan memorial — now a peaceful open space flanked by soaring new skyscrapers — has hosted Obama and other elected officials at previous commemorations but in recent years, including Sunday, the speakers at the event will largely be family members of the deceased.
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This story has been corrected to reflect Sept. 11 death toll of nearly 3,000 people total, at all four attack sites.