Former President Donald Trump issued a scathing statement on Monday tearing into former President George W. Bush over his speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks where he condemned ‘violent extremists’ – both at home and abroad.
‘So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the “right” are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America, and that are pouring into our Country right now,’ Trump said shortly after noon on Monday.
‘If that is so, why was he willing to spend trillions of dollars and be responsible for the death of perhaps millions of people? He shouldn’t be lecturing us about anything.’
He went on to lambast Bush’s legacy and invoked the twin towers collapse that killed more than 2,600 people that day.
‘The World Trade Center came down during his watch. Bush led a failed and uninspiring presidency. He shouldn’t be lecturing anybody!’ Trump wrote.
But Bush’s speech made no mention of terrorists on the ‘right.’
However, he did at one point appear to allude to the deadly January 6 riot in which violent Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.
Trump’s scathing Monday statement blames Bush for letting the twin towers collapse ‘on his watch’
Trump also took aim at Bush’s legacy in the White House, calling it ‘failed and uninspiring’
Speaking at the memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Bush denounced violent extremism and mourned the loss of brave passengers and crew members on board who tried to take the plane back from the terrorists on route to Washington DC.
He warned of ‘growing evidence’ that dangers to US security are coming ‘from violence that gathers within’ its borders.
‘There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,’ Bush said.
‘But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.’
Bush was less than one year into his presidency when 2,977 Americans died in the terrorist attacks.
All 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 died when the plane went down in an empty field as they thwarted the attack on the terrorists’ suspected target of either the White House or the US Capitol.
Two planes hit the World Trade Center that day and one crashed into the Pentagon.
More than 2,600 people died when the twin towers collapsed on September 11, 2001
Bush also aimed to assuage concerns voiced by veterans and servicemembers that their time in Afghanistan was in vain – after the Taliban quickly took control of the country ahead of President Joe Biden’s August 31 chaotic withdrawal.
Bush traveled to the site of Ground Zero three days after the attack
‘One thing is certain, we owe an assurance to all who have fought our nation’s most recent battles,’ Bush said. ‘Let me speak directly to veterans and people in uniform.’
‘You have shielded your fellow citizens from danger. You have defended the beliefs of your country and advanced the rights of the downtrodden.
‘You have been the face of hope and mercy in dark places. You have been a force of good in the world,’ said the former commander-in-chief.
‘Nothing that has followed, nothing, can tarnish your honor or diminish your accomplishments,’ Bush stated. ‘To you and to the honor of dead, our country is forever grateful.’
Later when he visited Shanksville, Biden had high praise for Bush’s remarks.
‘I thought that President Bush made a really good speech today,’ Biden said. ‘Genuinely good speech, about who we are. The core of who we are is not divided.’
Trump previously blamed Bush for the 9/11 attacks on the campaign trail in 2016. During a crowded Republican primary debate in February of that year, he told then-candidate Jeb Bush: ‘The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that.’
Trump, for his part, spent the day commentating a boxing match in Florida alongside his son, Donald Trump Jr., and rapper 50 Cent.
Before that he made a surprise visit to the New York Police Department’s 17th Precinct in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday Trump made a surprise visit to an NYPD precinct in midtown Manhattan where he criticized Biden, said the 2020 election was rigged and teased a potential 2024 run
Notably, the New York native did not visit Ground Zero like Biden and former Presidents Clinton and Obama did that morning.
During the visit Trump said little about the 20th anniversary. He instead chose to go after Biden’s chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal and claimed the 2020 election was ‘rigged.’
‘They had all the time in the world. We had everybody on hold, the Taliban was on hold. I dealt with the top guy – Abdul – and there was nothing he was going to be doing with us,’ he said, referencing his 2019 peace deal with the Taliban.
Still criticizing the Afghanistan withdrawal, he shifted to election conspiracy theories.
”All of a sudden we have a rigged election and all of a sudden we flee Afghanistan,’ he said. The former president has failed to produce any evidence to back up his claim.
At one point he teased a 2024 run when someone in attendance asked if he’d run for president again.
President Biden and former Presidents Clinton and Obama marked the solemn occasion at Ground Zero in New York City on Saturday
‘I mean I know what I’m going to do but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet,’ Trump said. ‘But I think you’re going to be happy let me put it that way. I think you’re going to be very happy.’
It’s not the first time Bush has rebuked his Republican successor.
Bush, the only other living former Republican president, issued a statement condemning the January 6 Capitol riot.
He said he was ‘appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.’
Without mentioning Trump by name, Bush sent a message: ‘To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment.’
Ex-President Bush was warned about terrorist threats before 9/11
January 2001: CIA Director George Tenet and counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke warn Bush and his foreign policy team that immediate action was necessary to counter terrorist groups, naming al Qaeda
That same month Clarke presented national security adviser Condoleezza Rice with a plan to take on al Qaeda and urged her to set up an NSC meeting regarding the threat
April 2001: The NSC meeting finally took place but Bush’s team was more interested in discussing ‘Iraqi terrorism,’ Clarke wrote in a 2004 memoir
May 2001: CIA warned officials about possible terrorist attacks being plotted within the United States
By May, ‘it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die,’ CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black told Politico
June 2001: Clarke asks to be reassigned, later testifying Bush officials seemed to be ‘unprepared to act as though there were an urgent problem’ regarding al Qaeda
Also in June, the CIA warned of an ‘imminent’ attack on the US
On June 30 the CIA sent a memo titled ‘UBL [Usama bin Laden] Threats Are Real,’ to which Bush responded, ‘All right. You’ve covered your ass.’
Defense Department officials suggested the CIA had been misinformed, The Atlantic reports, and said ‘Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat’
July 2001: National security officials agree to a meeting on Clarke’s plan, but couldn’t find time in July and decided too many Cabinet members would be absent for vacation in August – so it was scheduled for September
A July 1 CIA briefing warned an attack would occur ‘soon’
On July 10, CIA Director Tenet met with Rice and her team while Bush was in Boston on Tenet’s request.
Earlier that day, Cofer Black said it was evident that ‘the information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw’
According to Bob Woodward’s book State of Denial, both Black and Tenet ‘felt they were not getting through to Rice’ and she ‘seemed focused on other administration priorities, especially the ballistic defense missile system that Bush had campaigned on’
‘Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated,’ Woodward wrote
August 2001: Tenet was given a report called ‘Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly,’ around the same time a French citizen was arrested for overstaying his visa after his fight instructor grew suspicious over his insistence in learning how to fly large commuter jets over anything else. He was later thought to be one of the 9/11 hijackers