Quotes of the day

Donald Trump took an unprovoked slap at George W. Bush in an interview broadcast Friday, blaming the former U.S. president for not preventing the 9/11 terror attacks…

Ruhle jumped in, saying, ‘Hold on! You can’t blame George Bush for that.’

‘He was president, OK?’ Trump responded. ‘Don’t blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.’…

Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W. Bush, wasted no time in responding to a question about whether or not the former president would respond to The Donald’s remarks. 

‘Thanks for checking, but definitely not,’ Ford said Friday morning.

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While many Republicans have kept their distance from George W. Bush since he left office, the former president’s popularity has improved over the years. The harsh criticism of his legacy from Mr. Trump could cause blowback from Republicans who think of the former president fondly or consider it unfair to argue that he could have stopped the attacks.

Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, came to Mr. Bush’s defense on Friday and said that no one saw the attacks of Sept. 11 coming and that blaming the former president was a cheap shot.

“I think Donald Trump is totally wrong there,” Mr. King said on Fox Radio. “That sounds like a Michael Moore talking point.”

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Donald Trump, under fire for suggesting that George W. Bush shared in the blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks because they happened during his presidency, repeatedly declined to engage with reporters about the matter Friday night — opting instead to continue a long-running feud with Jeb Bush on Twitter afterwards…

When asked by CNN after a rally at a local high school here if he thought the attacks were George W. Bush’s fault, Trump, after pausing to listen to the question, walked away.

Minutes later, he again declined to say anything when asked to react to Bush’s response on Twitter, ignoring at least half a dozen questions on the matter before driving away in his motorcade. He did respond to questions about the crowd size at his campaign event Friday and why he was campaigning in Massachusetts…

“When Donald Trump implies that since 9/11 took place on Bush’s watch he is partially responsible for it, he’s starting to sound like a truther,” [Ari Flesicher] said. “And after all, does Donald Trump also think since Pearl Harbor happened on FDR’s watch that FDR is responsible?”

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https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/655188360449925120
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/655193907031056384
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/655194304479109120

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Ben Carson said it was “ridiculous” to blame George W. Bush for the 9/11 terror attacks, but added he doesn’t believe that’s what Donald Trump meant with his recent controversial comments on the matter.

During a brief campaign stop in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, Friday night, Carson gave Trump the benefit of the doubt over his comments, made to Bloomberg TV, on Bush: “He was president, OK? Don’t blame him or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

“Did he say that he was blaming him for it?” Carson said. He added he’d be “surprised” if Trump meant such a thing, and that “I think it’s ridiculous to suggest [Bush] was responsible for that.”

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I think I get what he’s trying to say here, but the way he communicated his point leaves a whole heck of a lot to be desired.

It seems he’s trying to say the buck stops at the top, therefore when something bad happens during a president’s watch, he ultimately has to take responsibility for it…

George W. Bush certainly wasn’t the world’s greatest president — especially when it came to domestic policy and economic issues — but he certainly isn’t at fault for a bunch crazy radicals murdering 3,000 people.

At the core, radical Islam is where all of the blame for 9/11 resides. It was the sick and twisted followers of a blood thirsty religion who brought down the towers and murdered innocent Americans.

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There is no game of nuance to be played here. Trump had the opportunity to correct himself, to note that he has stepped on the landmine and pull back his foot. He didn’t. He barreled right on.

Trump was trying to distinguish himself as superior to George W. Bush, and did so by saying that the Twin Towers came down during Bush’s “reign.” Nota bene, Mr. Trump: in republics we call them “terms.”

Any presidential candidate who makes that kind of charge in 2015 is well aware of what he’s saying. Trump was appealing to the conspiracy theorists that form his most ardent support not to flee as his poll numbers plummet.

Trump also continued the silly Republican establishment critique of President Obama, saying that he is not a leader. Obama is a leader, but is leading in all of the wrong directions.

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But could Bush have prevented 9/11 if he acted more aggressively against terrorism at the beginning of his administration? According to one of his loudest and most expert critics, the answer is no

GORTON: Now, since my yellow light is on, at this point my final question will be this: Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25th of 2001, based on Delenda, based on Blue Sky, including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for two and a half years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted say on January 26th, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?

[RICHARD] CLARKE: No…

So, yes, Trump is right that 9/11 happened while Bush was president. But even one of Bush’s most expert critics said that there wasn’t the “remotest chance” Bush could have prevented 9/11 by acting more aggressively against the terrorism threat in the first several months of his administration.

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You can hear lots of fascinating stuff there [in an interview Trump gave in 2008]. Trump likes Nancy Pelosi (5:14). He wanted her to impeach George W. Bush (5:25), because he says Bush lied about WMDs. At 6:27 he speculates that it would be hard to even imagine a worse president than Bush. At 7:26 you hear Trump saying President Bush is evil

Now, there are many ways to criticize George W. Bush. Some of them are even valid. But what Trump is saying here: that Bush lied about WMDs, that he’s evil, that it’s hard to imagine a worse president, and that he attacked Iraq “because he wanted to do it” is—well, it’s not only straight out of the leftist playbook, it borders on evil in and of itself. What’s more, Trump shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons Bush actually did attack Iraq.

You might say, who cares anymore? You might disagree with “Eric” that what a candidate says about Bush matters. But I see it as an issue of character—Trump’s character—as well as politics and judgment. Trump could have criticized Bush in any number of ways, including criticism of the Iraq war, without reflecting poorly on Trump’s own character and judgment. But the way he chose to do it was to spout the most vile boilerplate criticisms advanced by the left. He calls Bush “evil”—who but the most doctrinaire leftist did that?

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