Fox News is attacking President Obama's decision to attend a 9-11 memorial at the Pentagon rather than the World Trade Center site. However, former President George W. Bush routinely did not visit ground zero on past anniversaries of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Vice President Joe Biden is attending a memorial at the World Trade Center site, like Vice President Dick Cheney did on the second anniversary.
Fox attacks President Obama for not appearing at ground zero on 9-11 anniversary
Fox Nation: "Pres. Obama Not Attending 9/11 Ceremony at Ground Zero." Fox Nation linked to an Agence France-Presse article about Obama's upcoming appearance at the Pentagon under the headline, "Pres. Obama Not Attending 9/11 Ceremony at Ground Zero." From the Fox Nation:
Doocy: "Does not paying a visit to New York to pay his respects send a negative message to Americans?" On the September 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy introduced a panel discussion by asking, "Does not paying a visit to New York to pay his respects send a negative message to Americans? What's up with that?" Panelist and Georgetown University professor Christopher Metzler said: "I think he's nationalized the mosque issue, so I'm not sure that he wants to face the protest. ... The president had enough time to go to stump for the Olympics, but he can't show up at ground zero? It's an Amtrak ride away." Conservative talk show host and Fox News analyst Linda Chavez called Obama "tone deaf" and added, "He manages to bring Michelle up here for date night, but he can't get to New York City to honor 3,000 dead Americans?" Chavez later claimed, "If he were to show up, his instinct would be to give us a lecture on the First Amendment and religious freedom, and that probably would send yet another bad message." Teasing the discussion, the following on-screen graphic aired:
Peter Johnson Jr.: "To somehow be embarrassed by our loss, to somehow abdicate the opportunity because he's afraid of protesters about the mosque ... that's wrong." Later on Fox & Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. called the decision to attend a memorial at the Pentagon "a disappointing message." Johnson also said "to not do that, to somehow be embarrassed by our loss, to somehow abdicate the opportunity because he's afraid of protesters about the mosque, because he's afraid about not making the commitment to 9-11 survivors, because he's afraid that they have not been justice for the victims of 9-11, that's wrong."
The president, vice president, and former and current first ladies are all commemorating the anniversary at different locations
Obama, Biden, Michelle Obama, and Laura Bush will appear at the three crash sites to commemorate the 10th anniversary. According to AFP:
US President Barack Obama will mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon, and Vice President Joe Biden will be at the World Trade Center site in New York, the White House said Monday.
Officials had previously announced that First Lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush would on Saturday mark the attacks in Pennsylvania at the site where the hijacked plane that did not reach its target crashed.
Bush routinely did not attend 9-11 memorial services at ground zero
Bush routinely skipped 9-11 memorials at Ground Zero. President Bush routinely did not attend 9-11 memorial services at the World Trade Center. On the first anniversary of 9-11, Bush visited New York and addressed the nation. On the second anniversary, Bush addressed the nation from St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., while Vice President Dick Cheney represented the president in New York. On the third anniversary, Bush addressed the nation via radio from the Oval Office. On the fourth anniversary, the president, first lady, vice president, and Mrs. Cheney observed a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House. On the fifth anniversary, Bush visited ground zero on September 10, but instead of attending the memorial in New York on September 11, he addressed the nation from the Oval Office. In 2007 -- the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks -- Bush reportedly "paused for a moment of silence outside the White House," and in 2008, Bush attended the dedication of a 9-11 Pentagon Memorial.
Right-wing media previously attacked Obama over 9-11 day of service
Right-wing media attacked Obama for "demean[ing] the memory" of 9-11 victims for calling for a 9-11 day of service. In 2009, conservative media figures attacked Obama for his "decision to remember 9-11 as a national day of service." For instance, radio host Laura Ingraham declared that "marking 9-11 as a day for volunteerism demeans the memory of the thousands who were killed by Muslim extremists on that fateful September morning." Glenn Beck, who has said that he "hates" 9/11 families, complained that Obama allegedly did not consult 9-11 family members before making the National Day of Service decision. Beck also likened the move to "the rape of a sacred memory." Rush Limbaugh accused Obama of "twisting 9-11 into a nationalist day of service to the state."
Majority of GOP senators voted for the bill to designate a "September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance." The Senate passed the Serve America Act on March 26, 2009, by a 79-19 vote. The bill designated September 11 as a National Day of Service. Twenty-one Republican senators, including then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, voted in favor of the legislation. Nineteen Republican senators voted against the bill. The House voted to agree to the Senate amendments on March 31, by a 275-149 vote. Twenty-six Republican House members voted in favor of the bill.
Bush frequently called on Americans to volunteer on 9-11. Bush, in his January 2002 State of the Union address, cited the spirit of 9-11 and announced that he was creating the USA Freedom Corps, a national service organization. He [[, and]] called "for every American to commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation." According to a USA Freedom Corps press release, on the first anniversary of 9-11, Bush said, "Many ask, 'What can I do to help in our fight?' And the answer is simple. All of us can become a September the 11th volunteer by making a commitment to service in our own communities." According to a September 8, 2008, Corporation for National and Community Service press release, "President Bush today renewed the call he made in the wake of the 9-11 attacks for every American to give 4,000 hours or two years of their lives in service to others."