A retired firefighter for the New York City Fire Department who survived 9/11 said Dan Crenshaw, the Texas Republican who criticized Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar for allegedly trivializing the 2001 terrorist attack, ignored his concerns regarding victim benefits, the Daily News reports.
Rob Serra is bound to his wheelchair and lost several of his fellow firefighters after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He told the Daily News that he tried talking to Crenshaw while lobbying Congress members to renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund on a March 27 visit to Capitol Hill.
But Crenshaw reportedly told Serra he was "too busy" and that his staff would reach out. Almost three weeks later, Serra still has not heard a word from Crenshaw, who has yet to voice support for the VCF renewal, or his office.
The fund provides compensation to the victims and first responders of the 9/11 attacks. It has been forced to cut payouts recently, as congressional Republicans like Crenshaw have been hesitant to renew it.
“He really didn’t want to talk to us,” the 39-year-old retired firefighter said. “He said he didn’t have any information and that his staff would take care of it.”
Over 81,404 Americans depend on VCF, 375 of which also come from New York, according to the fund's February status report.
He said he was reminded of the curt encounter with Crenshaw after the Texas Congressman criticized Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar for her Wednesday comments regarding 9/11.
Crenshaw snapped at Omar for saying that the 9/11 attacks were performed by “some people who did something.”
In a tweet, Crenshaw wrote, “First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.' Unbelievable."
Serra gave his own opinion about the situation, especially Crenshaw’s rebuttal.
“I think it’s highly insensitive to describe what happened on 9/11 that way,” he said, describing Omar’s comments. “(Crenshaw) is the wrong person to be making that criticism, though. He’s certainly not showing his support."