They say that the only way to teach some toddlers about the dangers of a hot stove is to let them burn their fingers on it. If Jeb(!) Bush is the toddler and Donald Trump is the stove, it’s amazing that the former Florida Governor doesn’t have stumps at the ends of his arms. Ever since Bush got drawn into a flap with The Donald over his brother’s response to 9/11 the scrum has blown up in his face. Trump made some incendiary comments about how Bush might have born responsibility for not preventing the attacks, at least to some degree, and that he would have had more foresight on the subject. Bush has vehemently disagreed.
But now recent history has reared its ugly head once again, as a little noted passage from Bush’s 2013 book has come to light. (Daily Mail)
A new battlefield has emerged in the war of words between Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and the man he deposed in July, and this time it’s Jeb Bush’s own words that are coming back to haunt him.
The former Florida governor wrote a book in 2013, ‘Immigration Wars,’ in which he wrote that the airplane hijackers who attacked New York City and Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001 were allowed into the U.S. under ‘leaky’ immigration policies presided over by his brother, President George W. Bush…
Jeb Bush’s own 2013 book noted that ‘in addition to the Mexican drug cartels, the fact that several of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country lawfully under a leaky immigration system has heightened national security concerns.’
If those quotes sound familiar it’s because they are almost word for word what Trump said at the beginning of this brouhaha. There’s got to be more than a little #HeadDesk action going on at Bush HQ this morning, along with a growing sense of despair over what – if anything – they are going to do to try to get back into this race. But exactly how prescient was Trump regarding terrorism back in the day? Buzzfeed has come up with a different book quote, this one from a book that The Donald published back in 2000 when he was considering a run for the White House which he eventually decided against. In it, we find some haunting words when looked at through the lens of history.
Trump, who at the time was considering a presidential bid on the Reform Party ticket, went so far as to say that an attack on a major U.S. city was not just a probability, but an inevitability.
“I really am convinced we’re in danger of the sort of terrorist attacks that will make the bombing of the Trade Center look like kids playing with firecrackers,” wrote Trump in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve. “No sensible analyst rejects this possibility, and plenty of them, like me, are not wondering if but when it will happen.”
And who did Trump foresee as the architect of our doom?
“One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin-Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jetfighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan,” The Donald wrote. “He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis.”
Look… I’m not here this morning to say that Trump would have stopped 9/11 if he’d been elected president in 2000 instead of George W. Bush. There’s a big difference between being aware of a threat and actually being able to intercept it. We had been laboring under the delusion of being safer on the home front than we actually were for a long time at that point, not paying as much attention to the earlier, smaller attacks as we should have. Our international intelligence resources weren’t focused strongly enough on the threat of radical Islam during the 90s, so it’s a stretch to say that any new president could have been sworn in on a cold January day of 2001 and turned things around in nine months.
But that’s really not that point of the discussion in October of 2015. Trump once again came out and said some things which (according to the conventional wisdom) were supposed to be repulsive and politically suicidal. Jeb was drawn like a moth to a flame, jumping on the comments in what he saw as a moment where he could finally punch the bully in the nose. But in less than 48 hours the tables turned once again and Trump had the upper hand.
I heard one pundit this morning who said that Trump has “de-boned” Bush at this point. The Donald managed to define Bush as the low energy guy who is generally wrong about things while Bush was still busy getting all of his fundraising bundlers in order. And at this point, even if Trump dropped out of the race tomorrow, Bush probably wouldn’t recover. It’s been a remarkable battle thus far and Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of how political warfare is waged. Simply amazing.