Former President George W. Bush says his apparent lack of reaction to the first news of the September 11 2001 attacks was a conscious decision to project an aura of calm in a crisis.
Then President George W. Bush listens as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs him of a second plane hitting the World Trade Center while Bush was conducting a reading seminar at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, September 11, 2001.
Bush was just as calm in private, though perhaps a little more forceful in his instructions. He also, understandably, had every security concern and reason in the world to stay out of Washington DC.
Instead, he ordered that he be returned to the White House, where he gave the nation a very unifying and reassuring speech from the Oval Office. He gave us a sense of normalcy that we desperately needed right then; the familiarity of our President behind his desk with the American flag behind him- a very important & reassuring image to a reeling nation. He was in the Oval Office doing precisely what Presidents should do, and just as importantly, what we needed to see and hear at a time like that.
Perhaps President Ronald Reagan could have appeared more calm but I'm not sure of that, with his background as an actor. He could put on a zero expression face that made therapists and shrinks envious.
President George W. Bush did very well that day, especially with the cameras rolling while he was told the shocking news. In my opinion, George W. Bush on 9/11 is a case study on how a President should act during a crisis of unbelievable proportion. He had ice water in his steely veins.