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Former President Donald Trump appeared to drop a major clue about his presidential campaign plans for 2024 Saturday when he skipped out on ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and instead popped in on Manhattan police officers and firefighters.
Asked by one of the officers at the 17th Precinct near Trump Tower if he was going to run again, the former president teased: “Oh, that’s a tough question.”
Then he added: “Actually, it’s an easy question. I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet. ... But I think you’re going to be very happy.”
Trump said he was holding off on an announcement because of “campaign finance laws, which, frankly are ridiculous.”
The longer Trump delays declaring that he’s a candidate, the longer he can continue to fundraise while dodging contribution reporting requirements.
NOW - Trump meeting with police officers in New York City on 9/11 pic.twitter.com/3paBFOdXBY
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 11, 2021
Trump has begun to look more and more like he may run. Last week he had a conference call with several members of his newly formed Faith Advisory Board of religious leaders, and ordered them to find more Catholic and Jewish votes for him.
He also has a political rally planned for Georgia late this month, and one in Iowa next month.
“Get ready for the longest presidential campaign in history,” quipped The Washington Post.
The glad-handing meeting at the precinct also looked like a campaign stop, as Trump hailed his “hero” police officers, even after defending Jan. 6 insurrectionists who attacked police. “We love the blue,” he claimed.
Twitter critics, meanwhile, came down hard on Trump for blowing off the nation’s solemn tributes to 9/11 victims.
President Joe Biden and former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended the somber name-reading ceremony of victims in Manhattan. First lady Jill Biden and former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama were also on the scene.
Bush, who was president when the attack occurred, spoke from the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, during a struggle between terrorists and passengers.
Bush attacked both foreign and domestic terrorists in his speech. “We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within,” he said.
Bush, who talked of the need for unity in Shanksville, also attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
A spokesperson for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum confirmed to The New York Times that Trump was invited to the ceremony at Ground Zero. But he opted to skip it, according to his spokesperson Liz Harrington.
He and his son Donald Trump Jr. instead were scheduled to provide commentary Saturday for a pay-per-view heavyweight fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. The former president reportedly boasted to friends he was going to make an “obscene” amount of money for his remarks.
Earlier he released a video statement bashing Biden for his handling of the troop pullout in Afghanistan.
Question: Where is Trump during the 9/11 anniversary ceremony?
Answer: Preparing to do commentary for a boxing match in Florida. pic.twitter.com/tS2Sw63Dxf
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 11, 2021
Despite all his calls for patriotism, Donald Trump skipped the 9/11 memorial with the other former presidents yesterday.
This should tell you all you need to know.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) September 11, 2021
Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama, Joe Biden were unified, in public, honoring our fallen on this 20th anniversary of 9/11. Jimmy Carter, age 96, honors them privately.
Donald Trump will fake-announce a fake-boxing grift between a 58 yr old and a 44 yr old at a casino.
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) September 11, 2021
Trump spends the anniversary of 9/11 the same way he spent this day 20 years ago, with a publicity stunt to talk about himself.
— NoelCaslerComedy (@caslernoel) September 11, 2021
— Alicia Smith 💙🌊🌊 #FBR (@AliciaSmith987) September 11, 2021
Donald Trump’s reaction on 9/11 - on the actual day - was to say he used to have the 2nd tallest tower in NY and it was now the tallest
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) September 11, 2021
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.