Gaffe Track: Trump's Inconvenient Memories of the 7-Eleven Attacks

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Son of New York Donald Trump

The gaffe: Campaigning in Buffalo on Monday, Trump misstated the date of, oh, the deadliest attack on American soil and the most traumatic event in the history of his home city. “I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down,” he said. “And I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action.”

The defense: In Latin, the prefix “sept-” denotes seven. Unfortunately for Trump, the Roman calendar is no longer in use, so that September is the ninth month—hence 9/11.

Why it matters (or doesn’t): You’d think a guy from New York would be pretty solid on 9/11, right? But no. This is the same guy who invented a fake memory of Muslims in New Jersey cheering for the towers’ collapse. This isn’t even an obscure question. On the other hand, usually when politicians gaffe about 7-Eleven, it’s much more offensive—just ask Joe Biden—so maybe we should just be grateful.

The lesson: If you’re a guy from 212, you should know the 411 about 9/11, but at least no one brought 311 into this.