Bush Ignores Sick 9/11 Firefighters & Cops

May 25, 2004 | Misleader.org

Over the last month, President Bush has repeatedly recounted how he was inspired by "the courage of the firefighters and the police"1 in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He recounted how, when standing atop a pile of rubble at Ground Zero, he was told by a firefighter, "Don't let me down."2 But more than two years later, he continues to ignore the needs of firefighters and police officers who are now suffering adverse health effects from their rescue efforts at Ground Zero. The situation has reached a head: yesterday, 1,700 cops and firefighters were forced to sue in court for the medical help they desperately need.3

While the President's very first campaign commercial used photos of coffin draped corpses4 being pulled from the rubble, the White House has sought to hide evidence that Ground Zero firefighters and cops were exposed to hazardous toxins. Specifically, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) intervened to doctor EPA press releases5 that were supposed to warn the public about toxins near Ground Zero. The press releases were modified to claim that the air was safe–despite the fact that there was not adequate scientific evidence to substantiate that claim. The CEQ was headed by James Connaughton, a former asbestos industry lawyer who represented companies in toxic pollution cases.6

When Ground Zero firefighters and cops began getting sick, the White House tried to block $90 million in funding7 for medical treatment. When Congress forced the Administration to accept the $90 million, the Administration then delayed the money8 and threatened to shut down the health-screening program. Even today, the New York Police Department has been denied much needed health grants.9


  1.   Remarks by the President at Victory 2004 Luncheon, 04/20/2004.
  2.   Remarks by the President to the American Conservative Union 40th Anniversary Gala, 05/13/2004.
  3.   "1,700 sue over 9/11 sickness", New York Daily News, 05/24/2004.
  4.   "President Bush: Don't use my husband as your mascot", Salon, 03/05/2004.
  5.   "W. House Molded EPA's 9/11 Reports", CBS News, 08/22/2003.
  6.   "It's public be damned at the EPA", New York Daily News, 08/26/2003.
  7.   "Cough up 9/11 aid, workers tell Bush", New York Daily News, 01/25/2003.
  8.   "$90M in WTC aid on hold", New York Daily News, 07/10/2003.
  9.   "1,700 sue over 9/11 sickness", New York Daily News, 05/24/2004.

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