Donald Trump was interviewed by TV reporters just hours after al-Qaeda terrorists flew passenger planes into the World Trade Center.
There were 2,753 people who were killed in the Twin Towers and a further 224 who died in the two other hijacked aircrafts that hit the Pentagon a field in Pennsylvania.
Speaking about the attack, the future US leader spoke of his “devastation” at the horrific terror attacks while praising the incredible work of emergency services.
He said: “I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I’ve seen two huge, 100-storey buildings that are reduced to rubble; thousands and thousands of lives [lost].”
And in a more statesmanlike performance than he’s often given as President, Trump also spoke of the profound impact the attacks would have.
Describing them as a “terrible thing for the world”, he added: “It’s like a whole different skyline, it’s like a whole different city and world.
Trump said he simply wanted the World Trade Center’s twin towers back.
“I cannot believe the sight of Lower Manhattan without the World Trade Center.” Therefore, we have to rebuild. Not necessarily in that form, but we have to rebuild. At least as good and maybe better.”
“If rebuild the World Trade Center stronger and a story taller, we win,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have the terrorists win, and that’s what will happen if we build this pile of junk.”
He finished up the interview by praising fireman, policemen and construction workers, calling their bravery “amazing”.
“The great thing is when they find somebody that’s alive, like the five firemen they just found a little while ago, so that’s the great thing and that’s what they’re all striving for, but generally speaking that’s not the case,” Trump said.
“But I’ll tell you what, you really can take heart. There firefighters and policemen and the construction workers equally, the courage they have is unbelievable. They’re working, digging out, and lifting up steel. And above them you have 55-story buildings that are very possibly going to be pouring down on them at any minute and they’re working like nothing’s wrong. They’re amazing.”
Investigators are still trying to formally identify remains collected from the rubble of the Twin Towers.
This month, the remains of a man who died in the attacks were formally identified – the first to take place since 2015.