Presidential candidate Jeb Bush continued his attack on Donald Trump Tuesday when he told J.D. Hayworth of Newsmax Prime the frontrunner “was morphing into Michael Moore.”
Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, the highest grossing documentary of all time, contends the Bush administration exploited the attacks to launch the Iraq invasion and promote the war on terror.
During the GOP debate on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina Trump criticized Jeb’s brother and former two term president George W. Bush.
“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that,” Trump said. He said Bush had compromised the national security of the United States.
Bush told Hayworth Trump had engaged in “border-line conspiracy theory” and it would result in a loss of support among voters, especially in South Carolina where the Saturday debate was held.
“I think most South Carolinians understand what President Bush did to protect our country and know that 9/11 was no fault of his, and they appreciate what he did over those eight years to respond and keep us safe,” Glenn McCall, a South Carolina RNC committeeman, told Politico after the debate.
Bush stalwart Lindsey Graham, a senior South Carolina Senator, praised Bush after the debate.
“He had the guts to stand up to a bully,” Graham said. “This is clearly getting under Donald Trump’s skin. I hope the people of South Carolina will send a message to Donald Trump that we don’t like Putin, we like W.”
Former Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer called Trump a “truther” and other neocons indignantly chimed in, accusing the frontrunner of treason.
The riff between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump began in October when Trump said George W. Bush knew the attacks were coming. During the debate last week Trump directly blamed Bush the the Iraq fiasco.
Jeb Bush, in an effort to defend his brother, ignored the fact the Bush administration knew about the attacks ahead of time.
In January, 2001 then CIA director George Tenet and National Security Council counterterrorism “czar” Richard Clarke warned Bush al-Qaeda was planning an attack.
In his book Bush at War, journalist Bob Woodward documents a meeting at Blair House where Tenet and his deputy James Pavitt characterized Osama bin Laden as a serious national security threat. Clarke presented National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice with evidence he had compiled following the alleged al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole.
According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill Bush and his neocon advisors planned to attack Iraq months before he entered the White House.
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” O’Neill told CBS in 2004. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
O’Neill said the attack is documented in memos and one “of them marked ‘secret’ says ‘Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'”
Jeb, why did your brother attack and destabalize the Middle East by attacking Iraq when there were no weapons of mass destruction? Bad info?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2015
“I’m not blaming George Bush,” Trump told CNN. “But I don’t want Jeb Bush to say, ‘My brother kept us safe,’ because September 11 was one of the worst days in the history of this country.”
Trump also blamed Bush for destabilizing the Middle East.
“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” Trump said. “George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.”
“I am sick and tired of him going after my family,” Bush responded. “And while Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.”