Former White home chief of employee Andy card recalls George W. Bush speaking with a bullhorn at ground zero

Sept. 11, 202106:21
Andy Card, former chief of employee for chairman George W. Bush, remembers the morning that Sept. 11, 2001 well. That was card who educated the president at the time that a 2nd plane had actually crashed into the human being Trade Center and also that the U.S. Was under attack.

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Card joined Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, and Hoda Kotb on a special edition of Saturday to reflect ~ above the 20th anniversary of 9/11. He said he also remembers the days adhering to that Tuesday, including the viral minute when former President shrub visited the civilization Trade facility site through firefighters and also made an immediate speech with a bullhorn.

“It was completely a voluntary event,” map said. “This was no a scheduled event. There to be no script, there to be no teleprompter.”

Former president George W. Bush spoke come rescue workers, firefighters and also police policemans from the rubble of floor zero top top Sept. 14, 2001 in brand-new York City.Eric Draper / The White house / Getty Images

The previous chief the staff described that he had actually asked, “‘Mr. President, would you be willing to speak something?’” to which the chairman replied, “‘Do friend think that appropriate?’

“And ns said, ‘If friend think it’s appropriate, that appropriate,’” card continued. “And the said, ‘I’m ready to perform it.’ and also I asked the secret Service if he could have the president acquire up ~ above this crushed vehicle and also an certified dealer jumped increase on the vehicle and also jumped up and down a couple of times, offered me the thumbs up.”

Card said Nina Bishop was able to procure a bullhorn because that the president in order because that him to be heard through the crowd around him.

At one point, a man from the crowd yelled, “I can not hear you,” however Card said shrub was rapid to respond. “The chairman said, ‘I have the right to hear you and the whole people will hear us.’

“I think it was among the most dramatic, immediate statements ever made by a leader," map said. "And that did cause us every then to provide up our various other labels and say, ‘We’re American.’”

Andrew Card served as the White house chief of staff from

Earlier in the interview, card recalled the moment he had to break the news to the president the a 2nd plane had actually hit the southern tower the the people Trade Center.

At the time, the president was at Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, because that a planned visit to read to a group of 2nd graders. Card claimed that if it supposed to it is in a "great day," he became "all business" after learning of the second attack.

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Card, then the White home chief that staff, whispered right into the ear that President shrub to give him word of the plane crashes in ~ the world Trade Center, during a visit come the Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Sarasota, Florida on Sept. 11, 2001.Doug Mills / AP

“He heard around a small twin-engine prop plane crashing into one that the towers in ~ the human being Trade Center and went right into the classroom," map said. "And then ns heard it to be a advertising jetliner and also not a small twin-engine plane, then five my God, another plane.”

“I to be thoughtful about what I would certainly say,” the said. “I want to be reliable with mine words. I didn’t desire to have a conversation v him. I presumed a eight microphone would more than him.”

The former chief of staff remembered the words the told the president, saying, “I simply whispered in his ear, ‘A second plane struggle the second tower. America is under attack.’”

“I think that he digested what I’d said and also became the president that day,” map said. “The task was maintaining his oath of office. It no his agenda, that was maintaining America’s promise.”

Francesca Gariano is a new York City-based freelance journalist reporting ~ above culture, entertainment, beauty, lifestyle and also wellness. She is a freelance contributor to, where she covers pop society and break news.