GOP Presidential Field Split Apart By 9/11 – Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Fourteen years later, the 9/11 terrorist attacks have become a major issue in the GOP presidential race, dividing the candidates on who was responsible and what should have been done.

On Sunday, Donald Trump continued to hammer former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for repeatedly saying that his brother, former President George W. Bush, “kept us safe.” 

“Jeb said, ‘We were safe with my brother. We were safe.’ Well, the World Trade Center just fell down,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “Now, am I trying to blame him? I’m not blaming anybody. But the World Trade Center came down. When he said we were safe, that’s not safe. We lost 3,000 people. It was one of the greatest — probably the greatest catastrophe in this country.”

When Bush allies talk about the former president’s national security legacy, they tend to stress what happened after 9/11, even though the terrorist attacks also happened during his presidency.

“As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe,” Jeb Bush said during last month’s debate. “I don’t know if you remember, Donald — you remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arms around him? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.”

Others have pointed out that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the response to Hurricane Katrina, also did not keep the country safe. 

Bush reiterated his defense Sunday morning during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I don’t know why he keeps bringing this up,” Bush said, referring to Trump. “It doesn’t show that he’s a serious person as it relates to being commander in chief and being the architect of a foreign policy.”

“I mean, so next week, Mr. Trump is probably going to say that FDR was around when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. It’s what you do after that matters,” he added. “And that’s the sign of leadership. You don’t have to have your last name named Bush to be able to understand that.”

Trump also implied Sunday that if he had been president in 2001, the 9/11 attacks may not have even happened because he would have been tougher on “illegal immigration.”

“So there’s a good chance that those people would not have been in our country,” Trump said, reiterating that he wasn’t blaming former President Bush for the attacks.

Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign is now fundraising off of Trump’s comments.

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