Congressman Jerry Nadler: “The president — he wasn’t president [then] — but Donald Trump actually took a $150,000 grant from the Bush administration. They let him take a $150_000 grant meant for small businessmen, for 40 Wall Street, the ‘small business’ [of] 40 Wall Street.”
On Sunday, United States Congressman Jerry Nadler, who represents Lower Manhattan in the House of Representatives, appeared on the CNN talk show, “State of the Union,” and charged that President Donald Trump fraudulently obtained $150,000 in federal aid after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. These funds were part of a grant program intended to aid small businesses in Lower Manhattan that were adversely affected by the destruction of the World Trade Center complex.
The event of September 11, “occurred in my district,” Mr. Nadler noted. “I’m very familiar with it. I know people, a lot of people, who suffered from it. I was involved, I was instrumental in getting funding for small business grants for victims of 9/11, for people with small businesses in the area.”
“He stole $150,000 from some small businesspersons — who could have used it — to help rehabilitate himself,” Mr. Nadler continued. “And that’s why we appropriated it, why I got Congress to appropriate that money. To use it for his own ‘small business’ of 40 Wall Street. He has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.”
This was a reference to a office building that Mr. Trump owns in the Financial District, located several blocks away from the World Trade Center. Federal criteria that governed the grant program restricted eligibility to firms with fewer than 500 employees. Because Mr. Trump owns 40 Wall Street through a holding company that is separate from other real estate assets, his application listed only 28 employees at 40 Wall Street. By this gauge, Mr. Trump’s business would appear to qualify for the grant program. But federal guidelines also define “small business” as a firm generating $6 million or less in annual revenue. The application for 40 Wall Street acknowledged that the property generated more than $28 million in annual revenue.
Mr. Nadler added, “the president — he wasn’t president [then] — but Donald Trump actually took a $150,000 grant from the Bush administration. They let him take a $150,000 grant meant for small businessmen, for 40 Wall Street, the ‘small business’ [of] 40 Wall Street.”
Donald Trump, touring 40 Wall Street shortly after September 11, 2001.
Also raising questions about the good faith of such an application is a quote that Mr. Trump gave to German television reporter Stephan Bachenheimer on September 13, 2001. When asked about his real estate holdings in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, Mr. Trump replied, “I have a lot of property down there, but it wasn’t, fortunately, affected by what happened to the World Trade Center.”
In the same interview, Mr. Trump claimed that his organization had more than 200 employees working at Ground Zero to help recover survivors from the collapsed buildings. When fact-checking website Snopes.com investigated this assertion last December, it could find no evidence that anyone paid by the Trump Organization assisted in rescue or recovery efforts. The site also quoted Richard Alles, a retired deputy chief with the New York City Fire Department (who supervised Ground Zero for months following September 11, 2001) as saying, “this is the first I’m hearing of it. There would have been no need for that. Between police, fire and the construction crews, we had it all covered.” (By the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had modified his assertion, to claim that he “helped a little bit,” with the clearing of Ground Zero.)
Mr. Nadler’s view of the president’s integrity may prove consequential. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he is presently overseeing multiple inquiries into alleged misconduct by Trump Administration officials (including the president), and would also preside over any future impeachment process.