Karl Rove was in the next room when then-President George W. Bush was told that planes had struck the World Trade Center in New York City.
Rove appeared Wednesday on “Fox & Friends,” on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and revealed the one thought that stopped White House Chief of Staff Andy Card in his tracks just before he delivered the news to Bush. (RELATED: NYT Suggests Planes, Not Terrorists, Were Responsible For 9/11 Attacks)
Rove explained that there are a number of things he and his former colleagues do every year to remember that day.
“There are rituals. I already got an email from Andy Card. Every September 11th I get an email from Andy Card. 8:48, my assistant Susan Ralston calls me like she did that day standing outside Emma Booker Elementary School,” Rove remarked. “She said a plane has flown into the World Trade Center, we don’t know if it’s jet or prop, private or commercial. I walked about ten feet and told the President of the United States.”
That was the first plane that struck the tower, Rove noted, and it was Andy Card who told the president about the second plane.
“I remember Andy went to the door and I remember him — we were in a room adjacent to the classroom and he stopped at the door and paused and it seemed like an eternity. It was probably a second or two,” Rove continued. “But I always remembered that he stopped and I didn’t know why until a couple years ago when I on a 9/11 program and he explained that when he got to the door he realized he had to know exactly what he was going to say to the president so the president wouldn’t ask any questions.”
Card knew that Bush was reading with a classroom full of young children at the time and any questions could cause further concern and panic.
“And he went in and said, ‘Mr. President, a second plane has flown into the Trade Center, America is at war,'” Rove added.
Rove concluded the interview with one other memory that stood out.
“I particularly remember several weeks afterwards the families of the people who were on flight 93,” he said. “The first — the people who fought back came to the White House and they knew that their loved ones had sacrificed themselves in order to keep that plane from flying into the Capitol or the White House. And I will never forget that.”