Updated, 12:07 p.m.
Former President George W. Bush has opted against joining President Obama on Thursday at Ground Zero in New York City for an event to mark the death of Osama bin Laden.
“President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday,” said Bush spokesman David Sherzer, in a statement first reported by Politico late Tuesday. “He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”
The White House announced Wednesday the event would include a wreath-laying ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial. The president will also meet privately with relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush, who has largely stayed away from politics since returning to Texas in 2009, has praised Obama and his administration for hunting down bin Laden.
“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission,” Bush said in a statementearlier this week after Obama called him with the news of bin Laden’s death. “They have our everlasting gratitude.”
Nearly 10 years after the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, President Obama visits Ground Zero today to mark the death of Osama bin Laden. Nearly seven in 10 Americans see bin Laden’s death as a boost to the nation’s long-term security, according to a Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll. Do you agree? Tell us if you feel safer in the wake of bin Laden’s death by tweeting @washingtonpost with #10yearslater.Tweet
#10yearslater I don't feel safer after bin Laden's death - but feel happier about it.