Text: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2001
Following is the transcript of the press conference from the Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Sens. Thomas Daschle (D-SD), Trent Lott (R-MS), Hilllary Clinton (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Warner (R-VA).
GIULIANI: I want to thank Senator Daschle and Senator Lott for coming. And I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton for inviting them and I believe 40 of their colleagues, 40 senators at least. They came down to the site.
And I'll have them describe their own experiences, but the reality is, I think I heard several of them say, that seeing it in person is very different than seeing it on television or seeing pictures of it. Gives you a sense of the devastation that was accomplished there.
And I don't believe there's anything necessary to increase the resolve or the sense of unity of the United States Senate and Congress and the president, but I think it just underscores that when you actually see it.
I thank them very, very much for doing that, and I thank them for their support last week, which meant so much to the people of the city, and I thank them for their continuing support, which I know crosses all lines of any kind, party or anything else.
Thank you very much.
DASCHLE: Well, the mayor said it so well. It is one thing to see it on television, to hear about it on the radio and watch it, as we have, from day to day. It's another thing altogether to be here, to experience the loss.
We are here more than 40 strong with a very simple message: that we are Americans in complete unity with our New York and New Jersey friends. We're here to express our heartfelt sympathy to the victims and the families and those who have lost so much.
We're here to commend the leadership of this mayor, our governor and your extraordinary senators, and all of those who have played the role that they have in providing leadership. We're here to commend the firefighters and those who have given so much in the rescue effort already, who work day in and day out to try to assure that whatever chance of rescue could be realized.
And we're here, perhaps more importantly than anything else expect that our physical presence can demonstrate this morning, in saying that we support you and we're here 4to continue to provide that support whatever it may mean. We're here because we recognize this loss must be shared not only by New Yorkers, but by all Americans. We're here to demonstrate that support, and that support will be here for whatever length of time it takes.
LOTT: Well, thank you, Senator Daschle. And I want to thank Mayor Giuliani for the suggestion that we have a delegation of senators come here. And of course that request was supported by Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton.
LOTT: And I think it is so important for us that we're here and we hope that it's encouraging to those that are out there right now at Ground Zero working in search and rescue and the tremendous clean-up effort that's underway.
I'm from a part of the country that has been hit by hurricanes repeatedly. I've seen the devastation from tornadoes, from ice storms, drought, all kinds of disasters and so many of us here have had to deal with disasters. But I must say, I've never seen anything comparable to what we have seen here today, the magnitude of it and the horror of it. And so that's why it was so important that we come and see what we're dealing with here.
We are here to commit to the people of New York City and New York, regardless of the region of the country that we come from--and the entire country is represented here by this delegation--that we will stand with you. We made that clear last Friday when, without pontification, without speeches that we are quite often known for, we stepped up and voted for $40 billion for the clean up effort, the federal government's part of that for the disaster assistance that individuals and businesses and corporations and everybody will need and also for the cost of transportation and defense that's underway.
We are here to tell you that we're together as Americans in this effort. America has been hit a tremendous blow, but it has not blown us apart. It has pulled us together. And we will do our part from the federal level. We will do our part as individuals, men and women all across this country. With our efforts, our prayers. And we're here to tell you too, along with the president and a united Congress, we will build on that who has made this happen and we will do everything we can to make sure it doesn't ever happen again.
Thank you so much.
U.S. SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Well, thank you.
You know, the picture behind me says one thing to all of us as New Yorkers; we are not alone.
The 40 senators here represent every region of the country, every ideology, every different background, and they are all here united to say that they share some of our pain and that they will be here for us as they were, as both Tom and Trent mentioned last week.
It says to us that America is united behind us. It says to us, when we need help, they will be there, as Trent Lot said, without flinching. When Hillary and I made our request to our colleagues, there wasn't a debate about this or that or this, they were there for us. And we are so grateful.
I have, in my time in the congress, I've never seen 40 senators come to a different locale on such short notice, but here you all are. And I think I speak for every New Yorker when I say to you from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. It means a great deal to us and in our hour of deed, the Senate, the House, the president and America are there for us.
CLINTON: I think you can appreciate the extraordinary feelings that are coursing through every one of us up here because this is one of those moments that will long be remembered.
CLINTON: The kind of show of support and concern that our colleagues have given to this city and state, to the families, is really unprecedented, and it will never be forgotten.
I think it is especially appropriate that we stand here, as well, with our mayor. People have asked me a lot, Mayor, in the last days, you now, ``Gee, what do you think? What do you think?'' And I don't think I think anything different than not only people throughout the city and the state or even the nation, but I honestly believe the world, think that your leadership not only demonstrated the courage and determination and strength that we would expect in a moment of crisis and have come to see in other settings, but also the compassion and the caring and the concern, which has really help to lift up the hearts and spirits of countless people.
It's important, though, as we stand here to recognize that, you know, our mayor hasn't slept. A lot of people down on that site haven't slept. This has been an extra human effort to keep it going, to keep it together. And when of the great gifts that we're being given today is to know we're not alone. That we have support from every corner of our nation. That means a lot.
As I said down on the site, one of the firefighters I was talking to said, ``You know, are they going to forget us, though, when they leave? Is It all going to be forgotten, you know, like in a month or two?'' And I told him what I honestly believe. That, ``No, it won't be.'' That we're going to have the help and support and assistance that we need, because we recognize that, although this was an attack on New York, it was an attack on America, and all Americans feel it and are willing to support us as we try to comfort and rebuild.
So from my perspective, personally, Chuck and I are immensely grateful. And I think it would be appropriate, Mr. Mayor, if we heard from some of our other colleagues, if any wanted to say anything. Because several of the press asked me, down on the site, who all was here. I think you're going to get a list. Everybody will get a list, I believe. And it is appropriate that the first person who would come to the microphone is Senator Warner, who has seen more than his share of warfare and military preparedness.
CLINTON: I went with him to the Pentagon yesterday to pay my respects to the brave men and women who died there and also were fighting to save lives there.
And Senator Warner, we'd be honored to have you say a word.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator. I'll be very brief. I appreciate very much your coming to the Pentagon yesterday and Senator Schumer.
We visited with our firefighters and they're just like your construction workers, firefighters, Red Cross, all, who are on these sites. And when they learned that you had asked that I come up here today, the Fairfax County Fire Department gave me this hat. And they said, ``Senator, we're a band of brothers and sisters, whether we're in New York or in Virginia, here at the Pentagon.'' And they said, ``If you see that mayor, he's our kind of guy, give him our hat.'' Mr. Mayor, here we go.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
WARNER: I'll take this one back and it will be in the Hall of Fame in the Fairfax County Rescue Squad.
GIULIANI: Thank you, Senator.