Trump faces backlash for blaming ex-President George W. Bush for 9/11 – USA TODAY
WASHINGTONÂ â Prominent Republicans are condemningÂ GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for suggesting that former President George W. Bush is partly to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks that happened during his administration.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called Trump’s comments “a cheap shot.”
“I think Donald Trump is totally wrong there,” King said Friday during an interview on Fox News Radio. “Anyone who has any real knowledge of thatÂ âÂ you can get all the CIA people, all of the career peopleÂ âÂ no one saw the attack of 9/11 coming.Â And to blame George Bush for what happened on September 11…shows a lack of knowledge and is too much of a cheap shot at the president.”
Ben Carson, one of Trump’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, said blaming Bush “wouldn’t make much sense.”
“I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that (Bush) is responsible for it,” Carson said during a brief campaign stop Friday night in Alexandria, Va.
Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary during the Bush administration, told CNN that Trump sounds like a “truther,” a term applied to conspiracy theorists who believe that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks.
“I just think he (Trump) belongs to an extraordinarily small faction of people who blame 9/11 on George Bush,” Fleischer said.
The controversy began Friday when Bloomberg TelevisionÂ released an interview with Trump in which the billionaire businessman said he was more competent than the former president.
“When you talk about George Bush, I mean â say what you want â Â the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said.
BloombergâsÂ Stephanie Ruhle then interrupted and said Trump couldnât blame Bush for the attacks that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead.
âHe was president, okay?” Trump responded. “Blame him or donât blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.â
Trump’s comments immediately drew an angry responseÂ from the ex-president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is competing withÂ Trump for the Republican nomination for president.
“How pathetic for (Trump) to criticize the president for 9/11,” Jeb Bush tweeted Friday. “We were attacked and my brother kept us safe.”
Bush’s response set off a Twitter battle with Trump, who called his rivalÂ “pathetic” for “saying nothing happened during your brother’s term when the World Trade Center was attacked and came down.”