Biden and Pence Cross Paths, Share Awkward Moment in NYC

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Posted: Sep 11, 2020 2:35 PM
Biden and Pence Cross Paths, Share Awkward Moment in NYC

Source: Amr Alfiky/The New York Times via AP, Pool

The former vice president shared rare pleasantries with his successor during a visit to New York City on Friday morning to pay respects to those killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001. 

Joe Biden arrived at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum early in the morning, greeted by fellow Democrats New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, and New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.

The two briefly spoke and former second lady Dr. Jill Biden also exchanged greetings with second lady Karen Pence. 

With only 53 days until the general election, harsh words have been shared by President Donald Trump toward his Democratic contender. The president has repeatedly pointed out that Biden seems to be suffering from mental decline and that his policy proposals amount to nothing. The president has also noted that Biden is the candidate choice for the rioters that have taken over city streets on a nightly basis.

Biden has responded in kind, slamming the president as a liar whose actions have cost lives during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. He has also repeatedly misquoted the president on several issues, most frequently taking comments out of context to make Trump sound racist. 

But on the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11, both candidates seemed to put politics and insults aside as they commemorated the day, mourned the dead, and honored the heroes of the day. 

After briefly meeting and awkwardly elbow-bumping, the two parted ways en route to separate events honoring the fallen of 9/11. Pence and his wife spoke at a ceremony hosted by nonprofit Tunnel 2 Towers, founded by Frank Siller who lost his brother FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller on 9/11. Siller and his organization stepped up to host victim's families and read aloud every name of the fallen on the anniversary. 

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum had canceled the reading of the names this year, citing concern over COVID-19. Instead, they played recorded readings aloud from Ground Zero. That was the ceremony attended by the Democrats.

Both VP Pence and Karen read from the Bible, honoring those that gave their lives and praying for those lost in the unspeakable acts of terror. Many family members took turns reading through the list of nearly 3,000 names of those who had perished. 

Siller, in an emotional speech, underscored the importance of reading the names aloud, in person, with family and friends. 

"We know that it was the utmost importance that we read aloud the names of the 2,977 souls who perished 19 years ago today," Siller said. 

The unlikely encounter between the current and former vice presidents did not seem to be planned but both men remained cordial. Biden later visited Shanksville, PA, where the president gave a moving speech just hours before, but the two did not cross paths.