The job of our president is protect the american people from harm, and some presidents dont need to worry about that and some do and it turns out. I was one that did my assistant came in and said a plane is at the world trade center and i said well thats a strange accident and i called the president. Initially, we thought maybe a small plane of some kind and he said well, keep me posted hed, been told a small twin engine prop lane crashed into one of the towers, the world trade center. You know oh thats, a horrible accident, i was concerned, but i did not think of it as a national security threat. I remember when he came in even as a seven year old. You know who the president is right and i remember like even feeling like that. Young feeling, like kind of like star, struck and giddy like im going to disney world, or something – and i put my hand over my heart, like i, you know when you think about patriotic things, when youre that little you know you do the pledge of allegiance every Day and i literally put my hand over my heart – i asked my communicators if they could find a television and at about one minute after nine, they came back in with a television set, so we brought cnn up. I was calling the white house situation room to talk to my senior duty officer, so i was chatting with him on the handset and watched the television as the rest of the country was watching the television at 903 when the second aircraft impact impacted into the second World trade center tower when the second plane hit there was an audible gasp of air in the room.
Some people put their hand on their chest. It was two realizations right, one that the immediate death toll and then the fact that this was an attack on america. Yes, more get ready. It hits me as im standing there next to the president to the left that the presidents, the only one that doesnt know the second plane, has hit the building. I had to deliver a message that the president didnt expect to hear and was almost unbelievable, but it also literally was the message he had to hear whether he wanted to or not andy card comes up to. My behind me and says second plane has hit the second tower americas under attack and im watching the child read, and then i see the press in the back of the room beginning to get the same message. I just got, and i could see the horror edged on the face of the news people who had just gotten the same news during a crisis, its really important to set a tone uh and not to panic. And so i waited for the appropriate moment to leave the classroom. I didnt want to do anything dramatic. I didnt want to you know lurch out of the chair and scare the classroom full of children, and so i waited try. It again get ready for the beginning of that sentence, get ready. I was studying him intently and his mouth was kind of drawn and tight, and there was a almost uh for just a brief moment, sort of a startled look in his eyes and also a weightiness to him.
If you will, i could tell he was really focused on trying to get through that event. Youre literally seeing the mindset of the present united states play out on tv everything about what he thought he was about. As a president is changing right in front of you. We hear about the great wartime leaders, churchill, roosevelt, others days – if not weeks, to process and gird themselves for what was ahead.