Extraordinary. In addition to breaking other norms of US politics Donald Trump showed last night how narrowly constrained our political discourse usually is.
First, he stated the obvious, but rarely voiced: George W. Bush didn’t keep the country safe because the 9/11 attacks occurred on his watch.
Second, he made an assertion that has not been proven and certainly is not normally claimed: that Bush and his team knew Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before they invaded the country.
One of the most electric — and personally charged— exchanges of the night took place between Trump and Bush over the legacy of George W. Bush, who will hit the campaign trail in South Carolina on Monday to stump for his brother.
Trump blasted the former president and called the war that he waged in Iraq a “big fat mistake.”
Bush hit back strongly, saying, “I’m sick and tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems” he faces. He then quickly turned the fire on Trump, saying, “While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus” to keep the country safe.
Trump lashed back, saying it was under Bush’s watch that the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001.
“That’s not keeping us safe,” he said, spurring the audience to boo loudly in disapproval of Trump.
And on WMDs, from The Hill:
“We should have never been in Iraq,” Trump added. “They lied, they said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none and they knew that there were none.”
In addition to everything else, this exchange shows once again how painfully inadequate Jeb! is as a candidate. When confronted by Trump he looks as though he is trying to catch the attention of a doorman, bouncer or other lackey to remove the offender — rather than facing him down directly.