Home : WRH Store : Reader Letters : Advertise : Donate

Bush at Booker Elementary

"Had I known there was going to be an attack on America, I would have moved mountains to stop the attack. I would have done everything I can. My job is to protect the American people." G.W. Bush 4/11/2004

Video documenting President Bush's actions on 9/11/2001 when he was informed America was under attack.

RealVideo excerpt 7 MB
QuickTime full video 25 MB

You may have heard the strange story of how George Bush claimed to have seen the first plane hit the World Trade Tower on a television in Booker Elementary School before going into a classroom to hear some children read. This is a strange story because there were no live broadcasts of this impact.

Still stranger was Bush's reaction on being told of the second impact by chief of staff Andrew Card. There was none. Bush simply went on with the school visit and listened to children reading about a pet goat. For twenty minutes.

But far more telling than Bush's reaction is that of Card himself who, as can be seen in the above clip, steps in to inform Bush of the second impact (without mentioning the fact that more hijacked planes were in the air), then immediately steps back without waiting for a reply. Bush's job is to make decisions. How does Card know that Bush will not make one then and there?

What damns the Bush administration is not what is in this video, but what SHOULD be in the video and is not. Ostensibly, Bush and Card are reacting to a surprise attack, but Card acts like he is delivering a progress report to which he knows there will be no immediate response rather than unexpected news, and Bush does not act surprised.

The only source to describe what happened next is Fighting Back by Bill Sammon. Publishers Weekly described Sammon's book as an "inside account of the Bush administration's reaction to 9-11 [and] a breathless, highly complimentary portrait of the president [showing] the great merit and unwavering moral vision of his inner circle." [Publisher's Weekly, 10/15/02]

Sammon's conservative perspective makes his account of Bush's behavior at the end of the photo-op all the more surprising. Bush is described as smiling and chatting with the children "as if he didn't have a care in the world" and "in the most relaxed manner imaginable." White House aide Gordon Johndroe, then came in as he usually does at the end of press conferences, and said, "Thank you, press. If you could step out the door we came in, please."

A reporter then asked, "Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there anything...", But Bush interrupted, and no doubt recalling his order, "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET," Bush responded, "I'll talk about it later."

But still the president did not leave. "He stepped forward and shook hands with [classroom teacher] Daniels, slipping his left hand behind her in another photo-op pose. He was taking his good old time. ... Bush lingered until the press was gone." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90] [cooperativeresearch]

I remember once the Secret Service thought they had another threat and tried to get the president to leave, [Karen Hughes, a senior counselor to George W. Bush] said. And he insisted that he wasnt leaving. I'll never forget, he said: In fact, Im hungry. I want a hamburger. [MSNBC]

President Bush knew the twin towers had been hit by commercial airliners. An unknown number of people were dead or injured, and some were jumping from the towers, but the main concern of the US forces commander-in-chief was getting a hamburger. How did he know it was safe to stick around and ask for a burger? How did he know he was not making targets of the school staff and students by staying with them?

History rewritten...

An account of the events in Booker Elementary School
on 9-11 by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card

See also: President Bush's 9/11 Visit To Booker Elementary - The Full Story

What Really Happened

Email This Page To A Friend