Close this search box.

Democrats Apologize for Banner Comparing Climate Change to 9/11


Two Democratic New York state senators have apologized for posing with a banner that compared the seriousness of climate change to the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in Lower Manhattan in 2001.

Sens. Robert Jackson and Rachel May attended a climate change rally at the New York State Capitol in Albany on Tuesday, where activists were demanding lawmakers include $15 billion in climate-related funding in their state budget proposals due later this week.

The pair posed with an activist whose banner said in red letters over an illustration of the New York City skyline: “Wake up American before it’s too late.” A plane that appears to be flying toward the Twin Towers carries the words “climate change,” suggesting the threat of global warming is comparable to that of 9/11.

Responding to the photo, New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt tweeted: “This shameful use of 9/11 imagery offends every New Yorker. My colleagues @SRachelMay and @SenatorRJackson are using a horrific attack on our Nation to advance their political agenda. The @NYSenDems should condemn this disgusting display.”

New York Senators Pose With Climate Banner
A Twitter image shared by New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt on March 9, 2022, shows two Democratic state senators posing with an activist who is holding a banner comparing climate change to the 9/11 terror attacks.ROB ORTT/ TWITTER

Sen. Jackson tweeted in response: “Today, I attended a rally in support of investments in addressing climate change. I posed for photos with many advocates standing at the rally, one of them a veteran of our nation holding up his banner.

“I did not note the details of the artwork and would never support anything that denigrates the memory of all who were impacted by 9/11. The artwork depicted is wrong and I fully reject it.

“As a NYC native who continues to be personally impacted by the events of that horrific day, I sincerely apologize to anyone who might be confused by any political ploy to mischaracterize my actions.

“Indeed the only time I saw the banner in its entirety was on the minority leader’s social media. There are two truths here: climate justice is not a political agenda and 9/11 can never be used for political points.

“As Chair of Civil Service and Pensions, I have worked with widows of 9/11 to ensure they get the benefits due to them as a result of losing their loved ones during these attacks and will continue to support all those impacted by this day.”

Sen. May said in an earlier tweet: “The imagery on the banner is unacceptable and I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state’s history to score cheap points.

“I apologize sincerely to all New Yorkers and call upon the organizers to similarly condemn this message.”