At 12:15, some New York-based journalists realized he was going to the memorial, which opened in 2011. When the motorcade arrived, Trump, his wife and a small entourage that included campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and social media manager Daniel Scavino, hustled inside under umbrellas.
The press, including several photographers and cameramen, was ordered by security to hold tight in a van. It was not the memorial's policy to allow media inside, and so the media would not be let inside. That left the semi-official documentation of the event to Twitter users, who appeared universally surprised to see Trump inside. Trump had not donated to the major charities and causes that helped first responders recover from damage incurred on Sept. 11, 2001, but he had referenced the attacks multiple times after Cruz accused him of embodying liberal, suspect "New York values."
For a half hour, reporters were told to expect Trump to come out and address them on camera. There was a 10-minute warning, then a five-minute warning, and a scramble to a location away from the memorial itself. But the final call was up to Trump and at 12:48 he emerged again, not exactly in the mood to deal with the press. Trump et al re-entered the SUV, zoomed past the stalled press van, and the candidate waved at reporters through tinted windows. The van followed Trump back uptown, parked behind him, then emptied out as reporters -- in vain -- sought a comment from the candidate.
By leaving the cameras outside, Trump avoided any suggestion that his visit to the memorial was a photo op. Still, the confusingly organized event capped a week of odd false starts. His campaign considered, then mooted, a fly-in to Colorado Springs at the start of the state convention. It announced, then scrapped, a Friday press conference in California. But after the 9/11 tour, the campaign issued a photo and statement to reporters.
"They were incredibly impressed with the museum, a monument representative of all of the wonderful people who tragically lost their lives and the families who have suffered so greatly," said spokeswoman Hope Hicks. "It is also symbolic of the strength of our country, and in particular New Yorkers, who have done such an incredible job rebuilding that devastated section of our city. This is what 'New York values' are really all about."