BUFFALO, N.Y. – Donald Trump made an unfortunate slip of the tongue while campaigning in Buffalo, New York, at his final campaign rally before Tuesday's big-prize primary.
He was about to deliver prepared remarks lauding New York values when he mistakenly mentioned the name of a popular convenience store chain in place of 9/11.
"It's very close to my heart because I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I've ever seen in action," Trump told the crowd of thousands packed into the city's hockey arena.
While few in the room appeared to notice the flub, Trump's comments quickly drew attention on social media, where some panned him for the confusion.
Trump has repeatedly invoked the Sept. 11 attacks as he's campaigned across his home state, where 95 delegates are at stake. Earlier this month, he and his wife paid a visit to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum — his first, according to a museum spokesman who said Trump also made a $100,000 donation that day.
Trump had previously said that he watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center from his apartment in Midtown Manhattan, and claimed he'd watched people jumping to their deaths, despite the fact that his apartment is located about four miles from the World Trade Center site.
On Monday evening, Trump also suggested that he had played a personal role in the recovery efforts as he praised "Everyone who helped clear the rubble. And I was there, and I watched, and I helped a little bit," he said. "But I want to tell you, those people were amazing. Clearing the rubble, trying to find additional lives. You didn't know what was going to come down on all of us and they handled it."
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to a request for comment on the misstatement, or to questions about what Trump was referring to or what kind of role he'd played.
In an interview with a German news station available on YouTube and dated September 13, 2001, Trump recounts that he "just went to what they call Ground Zero, I've never seen anything like it, the devastation, the human life that's been just wasted for no reason whatsoever. It is a terrible scene."
Asked whether he intended to play any role in the reconstruction efforts Trump said he had "a lot of men down here, right now" with more on their way.
"We have over 100 and we have about 125 coming, so we'll have a couple of hundred people down here. And they're very brave and what they're doing is amazing," he said, adding, "And we will be involved in some form in helping to reconstruct."
Corrects style for 7-Eleven in headline and 3rd paragraph