Presidential hopeful Donald Trump created a flash point recently when he appeared to blame George W. Bush for the 9/11 terror attacks. In an interview with Bloomberg, Trump said, “He was president, OK? Don’t blame him or don’t blame him, but he was president,” Trump continued. “The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”
Well, Jeb Bush isn’t taking that assertion lying down, and Donald Trump (of course) isn’t backing down.
Politico reports, In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” “host Chris Wallace asked Trump what he would have done differently in response to an earlier suggestion that then-President George W. Bush was partially at fault for the attacks. And Trump insisted he is not blaming the former president for them.
“Jeb [Bush] said ‘We were safe with my brother. We were safe.’ Well, the World Trade Center just went down. Now, am I trying to blame him? I’m not blaming anybody, but the World Trade Center came down, so when he said we were safe, we were not safe. We lost 3,000 people. It was one of the greatest — probably the greatest catastrophe ever in this country,” the Republican presidential hopeful said.
If he were president, Trump said, it would have been different.
“I am extremely, extremely tough on people coming into this country,” Trump said. And if he were president then, he said, he doubted “those people would’ve been in the country. … There’s a good chance that those people would not have been in the country.
“With that being said,” he added, “I’m not blaming George Bush, but I don’t want Jeb Bush to say ‘My brother kept us safe,’ because Sept. 11 was one of the worst days in the history of this country.”
For his part, Bush said on CNN’s “State of the Union” shot back that “Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things as though he’s still on ‘The Apprentice.'”
“My brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe,” Jeb Bush said. “And there’s no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that.”
The way I see it, the two candidates are really talking about two different things: keeping the nation safe before and/or after 9/11.
Whether or not stricter immigration policies would have kept the 9/11 hijackers out of the United States and away from flight schools is a valid question. Much has been written about the various intelligence agencies’ lack of coordination on monitoring the whereabouts of those on terror watch lists.
But Jeb does appear to be correct that the country was safer after 9/11, with a number of attacks thwarted under his brother’s administration.
However, at the moment, the Real Clear Politics poll average has Trump in first place for the GOP nomination, at 23.8 percent (just 2.5 points ahead of Ben Carson). On the other hand, Jeb Bush continues to struggle in single digits, tied in fourth place with Ted Cruz at 8.0 percent.
No matter how insensitive Trump’s comments may seem to some, there are plenty of folks who also seem to agree with him…at least for now.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]