I had to watch this three times to figure out how he segued from a question about comforting America in times of crisis — a stupid, terrible question, let me stress — to an answer attacking Bush’s terrorism record. But I think it goes something like this: Yes, he’d do very well as consoler-in-chief thanks to his big heart, but it’s a moot point because, unlike some people, there’d be no national catastrophes during his presidency that required him to do any consoling. He’d stop the next 9/11 before it happened and … end school shootings too, I guess? The reporter asks about “Sandy Hook” but Trump seems to think she means Hurricane Sandy (“those people are still begging for help”), so I guess what he’s saying is that, contra Obama, he’d be johnny-on-the-spot with hurricane relief the next time a big one strikes. There’s nothing he can’t do, never mind the corporate bankruptcies. That’s the whole thrust of his campaign message. I’m half-surprised, in fact, that he didn’t promise to find a way as president to disrupt hurricanes before they form. Maybe he’s saving that for the general election.
I’m old enough to remember when attacking Bush over 9/11 would draw indignation on the right for minimizing Bill Clinton’s failure to neutralize Al Qaeda before it gained the sort of global reach that Bush had to cope with as a newbie president. As chance would have it, there’s another Clinton running for president this year, making this a fine opportunity to remind voters of that fact — but instead he went after the brother of one of his primary opponents, who poses no threat to him in any poll right now. Huh. Even stranger is the fact that he felt obliged to come after Jeb via George at all in response to this dopey question. It was an easy opportunity for him to talk instead about what a nice guy he is — charitable donations, ways he may have assisted NYC after 9/11, how he’s consoled loved ones when they’ve had setbacks, whatever. It’s an odd instinct, when the subject of your own humanity is raised, to steer the conversation around to how some other guy farked up royally. But he’ll be fine. No one who might conceivably be irritated by this was voting Trump in the first place.
Speaking of which, here’s a guy who probably won’t be voting Trump. Exit quotation:
How pathetic for @realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 16, 2015