If he had been president, Donald Trump said Sunday, his immigration policies would have prevented the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He also said fellow GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush should stop defending his brother over the Sept. 11 attacks, as the two rivals took their feud to the airwaves on Sunday.

“I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those people would have been in the country,” Trump said on “Fox News Sunday.”

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“You always have to look to the person at the top,” Trump said Saturday in a telephone interview. “Do I blame George Bush? I only say that he was the president at the time, and you know, you could say the buck stops here.”

So why might one consider Bush responsible?

No. 1: Bush’s immigration policy. “We had very weak immigration laws,” Trump said, adding that perhaps if Bush had had a Trump-style immigration policy, replete with “the strong laws that I’m wanting, these terrorists wouldn’t have been in the country.”

No. 2: People knew that the FBI, the National Security Council, and the CIA weren’t sharing information about potential threats. “They were not talking to each other,” Trump said. “If I’m president, I want to have my three most important agencies talking to each other and coordinating with each other.”

And No. 3: George Tenet, Bush’s director of central intelligence, “knew in advance that there would be an attack, and he said that.”

“I don’t blame anybody,” Trump continued, after listing those points. “But it’s possible,” he continued, that had the administration had stronger policy on those points, “perhaps something could have been done that was obviously better than the worst attack ever perpetrated on the United States.”

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Ben Carson said on Sunday that he “seriously” doubts fellow 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump meant that former President George W. Bush is to blame for 9/11.

“I seriously doubt that he’s saying that — that George W. Bush is to blame for it,” Carson said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And — but beyond that, I would ask him.”

Carson said he “certainly” doesn’t think Bush is responsible for the terror attack

Carson, who opposed former President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan after 9/11, said on ABC on Sunday that he would have taken “aggressive action” such as “creating a base that did not require tens of thousands of troops.”

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“Does anybody actually blame my brother for what happened on 9/11?” Bush said on CNN’s State of the Union. “They’re totally marginal … It calls into question Mr Trump’s credibility as commander-in-chief.”…

Asked if he would be comfortable with Trump’s finger on the proverbial nuclear button, Bush said: “I have great doubts, to be honest with you.”

“It looks as if he’s not taking the possibility of the being president seriously,” said Bush. “For him, it looks as if he’s an actor playing the role of president. In his own words, it gives me great concerns.”

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The notion Trump was merely pointing out a “fact” is absurd on its face. Everybody knows who was President when 9/11 happened. It doesn’t bear repeating. No, what Trump did was elevate a theory that is not exactly Trutherism, but just a lighter version of it. It’s often referring to as “soft Trutherism.”

Trutherism is the nutball theory the 9/11 attacks were actually carried out by the US government and President Bush was part of the conspiracy to carry them out and part of the cover up.  Trump’s “soft” version says President Bush was well aware of the danger, did not connect the dots and therefore, “allowed” the attacks to take place…

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton sits back and cackles the entire time as Trump continues to turn the GOP primary season into a freak show. Democrats don’t have to do much work because Trump is busy attacking Republicans for them. Now he’s latched on to the goofy theory that Bush could have stopped the 9/11 attacks and didn’t.

What kind of Republican does that?

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The extent to which Trump has had a coarsening effect the nation’s political dialogue is deeply lamentable, but his resurrection and legitimization of this tired liberal conspiracy theory is downright irresponsible.

Because some have allowed themselves to become personally invested in Trump’s candidacy, they will excuse away or try to substantiate an untold number of this candidate’s reckless comments. In the event that the truest of true conservatives, whose antipathy for Jeb Bush is so strong that they would embrace conspiratorial thinking that had previously been consigned only to underground leftist message boards, it behooves us to dismantle this notion now…

Trump has not outright claimed that George W. Bush was responsible for or might have prevented 9/11. He has merely implied that with a cowardly evasiveness that betrays the myth of his reputation as a fighter who tells hard truths without a politically correct varnish. Trump has raised from its grave the ignoble lie that the 43rd President of the United States allowed 3,000 Americans to die as a result of negligence, and only to slander one of his family members. Lesser offenses than these have resulted in political figures being drummed out of public life, but Trump’s army of prominent apologists have lashed their credibility to his campaign and cannot now let him go down easy.

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