ABC, CBS, NBC repeated Trump’s evidence-free claim about his 9/11 response on social media

President Trump with ABC, CBS, and NBC logos in the background
Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Social media accounts of ABC, CBS, and NBC uncritically repeated President Donald Trump’s claim that he “spent a lot of time” with first responders at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

During a July 29 White House signing ceremony for legislation permanently extending aid to first responders through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Trump said to the assembled audience, which included some first responders to the terrorist attack: “I was down there [at ground zero] also, but I'm not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.” 

Some reporters pointed out that Trump lacked evidence for this claim, and a New York Times fact check of the statement quoted a retired New York City Fire Department deputy chief who said he “spent many months” at the site but never saw Trump there. Trump also has a history of making false and dubious statements concerning the 9/11 attacks.

Despite Trump’s record of falsehoods and exaggerations on this topic, Twitter accounts associated with ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as the Facebook pages for CBS and NBC repeated the president’s claim in their posts without noting that it might be false.