‘Reckless, appalling – an insult is too mild a word’: Survivors and families of 9/11 victims voice utter fury at Kamala Harris for comparing Capitol riot to the Al Qaeda terror attacks

  • Mary Geraghty, 61, whose husband was an FDNY chief called the vice president ‘out of touch’ and said ‘there is absolutely no comparison. Insult is too mild a word’
  • Widows and first responders called on Harris to apologize for her ‘insulting’ comparison. Families say they are tired of being used for political purposes 
  • 9/11 united the country against a common enemy, they say. January 6 saw a nation divided
  •  White House backed Harris’s comments saying critics were using it as an ‘excuse’ to address the significance of the riot

Survivors of the September 11 terror attacks and the families of those who died have slammed Vice President Kamala Harris’s comparison to the Capitol riot as ‘reckless’ and ‘appalling.’

They called on Harris to apologize for her ‘insulting’ comparison. 

In a speech given on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of Capitol riots, Harries equated January 6 to the 9/11 attacks and Pearl Harbor. 2,977 people were killed on 9/11 and more than 6,000 others were injured. 

‘Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing, when our democracy came under assault,’ Harris said. ‘December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001 and January 6, 2021.’ 

Mary Geraghty, 61, whose husband New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief Edward Geraghty died on 9/11, told DailyMail.com she was almost too upset by the comparison to comment.

‘I’m still speechless that our vice president would make that comment,’ she said. ‘There were terrorists that came onto American soil and slaughtered American citizens. There is absolutely no comparison. Insult is too mild a word.’

‘I guess you can’t expect much from someone who is so out of touch,’ she said.

Asked if she thought Harris’s comments were divisive, she said: ‘I think she was being Kamala Harris.’ 


FDNY Battalion Chief Edward Geraghty oversaw several firehouses on the day of the terror attack. His widow Mary Geraghty, 61, told DailyMail.com she was almost too upset by the comparison to comment. ‘I’m still speechless that our vice president would make that comment,’ she said. ‘There were terrorists that came onto American soil and slaughtered American citizens. There is absolutely no comparison. Insult is too mild a word.’


Equity trader John Ryan (left) worked for Keef, Bruyette & Woods which lost a third of their employees that day. His widow Patty said: ‘I think it’s quite distressing. I think it totally minimizes the deaths of 3,000 people who died on our soil that day.’  Mall manager Bruce Eagleson  (right) died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center after making sure that 18 coworkers got out of the building before it collapsed. Mr Eagleson’s widow Gail was baffled by the comparison 

On September 11, 2001, the coordinated attack on the World Trade Center in New York City by al Qaeda killed 2,977 innocent civilians and launched a 21-year war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, that took 2,403 lives and pulled the U.S. into World War II. 

In her speech on Thursday, Harris described the Capitol Hill fracas as an assault on democracy.

‘I wonder, how will January 6 be come to be remembered?’ Harris said. ‘Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest and greatest democracy in the world? Or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come?’   

John Feal, who was an EMT at 9/11, said that Harris misses the point. 9/11 united the nation, January 6 divided the country

The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2, 9777 people and launched a twenty-year war on Iraq and Afghanistan

Families of men who died on 9/11 issued blistering criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tone-deaf comparison of the Capitol riots to the 9/11 terror attacks and Pearl Harbor

The White House defended Harris’s comments, claiming critics were missing the bigger point. 

‘Instead of, for those who are being critics of the vice president’s remarks, I think instead of focusing on, or analyzing comparisons of moments in history, I would suggest that they be a part of solving the threat to democracy that occurs today … They are using this as an excuse not to be a part of that,’ White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

But NYFD Battalion Chief Geraghty’s widow Mary brushed off the White House’s defense of the Vice-President. 

‘They’re accustomed to doing damage control to back her up,’ Geraghty said. ‘Politics aside, our government needs to do better.’

Gail Eagelson, whose husband Bruce died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center after making sure that 18 co-workers made it out safely, said she was baffled by the comment.

‘I really don’t have respect for her, so I don’t listen to what she says,’ Eagelson told DailyMail.com 

‘What is it? Seven people died at the Capitol, and that’s unfortunate, but how can you compare that to 9/11.’

On January 6, 2020, Trump supporters marched from his ‘Save America’ rally to breach Capitol security as members of Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence were certifying the vote in favor of Biden. Four people died in the chaos of the day, and one injured Capitol police officer died a day later after suffering a stroke. 

Eagleson said she doesn’t remember where she was on January 6 last year.

‘I remember where I was when the federal building was bombed in Oklahoma,’ she said, referring to the April 19, 1995 home-grown terror attack that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. ‘I don’t really remember what I was doing.’

‘It seems like she’s a difficult person. She can’t keep staff. She seems like she has a chip on her shoulder. She kind of has an attitude.’ 

‘Here is the truth,’ Biden said. ‘The former president of the United States of America created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election’

John Feal, whose Fealgood Foundation spearheaded the effort to restore funding to the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, said Harris’s comments were reckless.

‘She joins a long list of elected officials who have misspoke, no knowing the pain that still exists in the 9/11 community,’ he said. 

Harris misses the point of the two events, Feal said.

‘Both caused a lot of harm and damage to our country, but we witnessed 9/11 collectively as a nation,’ he said. ‘We witnessed 1/6 as a divided country.’ 

She was speaking recklessly, not knowing that words do hurt,’ he said. ‘Should she apologize? Absolutely. Will she apologize? I don’t care. I’m an Army vet, a 9/11 first responder and a kidney donor.’  

He said that there was no justice for the victims of 9/11.

‘At least for January 6, justice will come,’ he said. ‘I hope that the bring the ringleaders to justices and I think they are — slowly.’ 

‘I don’t think she said it with malice, but maybe she thought she was going to score some political points with some people. 

Harris compared the three events as an attack on democracy. 

Biden wipes his eye as Harris delivers her remarks commemorating Jan 6

‘What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders … what they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed and shed blood to establish and defend.’ 

Angela Mistruli, whose father Joseph Mistrulli, a union carpenter working in the top of the North tower restaurant Windows on the World, said that Al Qaeda and the Japanese intended to cause death and suffer. 

‘I don’t like bringing 9/11 into political conversation,’ she said. ‘I don’t believe the people on January 6 went there with the intent of harming anyone.’

She said she would like to see Harris sit down with the families of the victims to talk about how the government bring accountability to those responsible for that day.

‘This is a nation of laws and we’ve never had our day in court,’ she said. 

She compared the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol one year ago to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and 9/11

Patty Ryan, whose husband J.R. Ryan was a securities trader for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, which lost a third of its staff in the attack, said she was tired of politicians using her families tragedy as a political justification.

 ‘Its just so frustrating,’ she said. ‘What we went through with the withdrawal of Afghanistan. We felt so bad for those people and what was being done in our name. We are constantly being used for political purpose.’

‘I think it’s quite distressing. I think it totally minimizes the deaths of 3,000 people who died on our soil that day,’ she said.

Politicians also chimed in to condemn Harris’s comments.

‘Let’s just be clear here: When they try to act like this is something akin to the September 11 attacks, that is an insult to the people that were going into those buildings,’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Republican Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona questioned the 9/11 Pearl Harbor comparison. 

‘Kamala compared Jan6 to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers. Fear-baiting and truth-twisting at its finest,’ Biggs wrote on Twitter.    

Kamala’s speech in full: VP compares January 6 to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and pushes to pass voting rights

Fellow Americans, good morning.

Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them — where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault. Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory. December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. And January 6th, 2021.

On that day, I was not only Vice President-elect, I was also a United States senator. And I was here at the Capitol that morning, at a classified hearing with fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Hours later, the gates of the Capitol were breached.

I had left. But my thoughts immediately turned not only to my colleagues, but to my staff, who had been forced to seek refuge in our office, converting filing cabinets into barricades.

What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders. What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend.

On January 6th, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces who seek to dismantle our democracy are successful. The lawlessness, the violence, the chaos.

What was at stake then, and now, is the right to have our future decided the way the Constitution prescribes it: by we, the people — all the people.

We cannot let our future be decided by those bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes, and peddling lies and misinformation; by some radical faction that may be newly resurgent but whose roots run old and deep.

When I meet with young people, they often ask about the state of our democracy, about January 6th. And what I tell them is: January 6th reflects the dual nature of democracy — its fragility and its strength.

You see, the strength of democracy is the rule of law. The strength of democracy is the principle that everyone should be treated equally, that elections should be free and fair, that corruption should be given no quarter. The strength of democracy is that it empowers the people.

And the fragility of democracy is this: that if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand; it will falter and fail.

The violent assault that took place here, the very fact of how close we came to an election overturned — that reflects the fragility of democracy.

Yet, the resolve I saw in our elected leaders when I returned to the Senate chamber that night — their resolve not to yield but to certify the election; their loyalty not to party or person but to the Constitution of the United States — that reflects its strength.

And so, of course, does the heroism of the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard, and other law enforcement officers who answered the call that day, including those who later succumbed to wounds, both visible and invisible.

Our thoughts are with all of the families who have lost a loved one.

You know, I wonder, how will January 6th come to be remembered in the years ahead?

Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest, greatest democracy in the world or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come?

The American spirit is being tested.

The answer to whether we will meet that test resides where it always has resided in our country — with you, the people.

And the work ahead will not be easy. Here, in this very building, a decision will be made about whether we uphold the right to vote and ensure free and fair election.

Let’s be clear: We must pass the voting rights bills that are now before the Senate, and the American people must also do something more.

We cannot sit on the sidelines. We must unite in defense of our democracy in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our prosperity and posterity.

That is the preamble of the Constitution that President Biden and I swore an oath to uphold and defend. And that is the enduring promise of the United States of America.

My fellow Americans, it is my honor to introduce a public servant with the character and fortitude to meet this moment, a leader whose life’s work has been moving our nation toward that more perfect union: President Joe Biden.

 

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