Donald Trump triples down on 9/11 comments

·Senior Writer

At a rally in South Carolina on Monday night, Donald Trump did not mention his controversial assertion that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks would not have happened if he had been president. But the Republican frontrunner did not back away from his criticism of George W. Bush on Tuesday, saying 9/11 is proof the country was not “safe” during his presidency — and that he could have done more to prevent the attacks.

“If you look at what happened, number one, I would’ve had a stronger immigration policy,” Trump said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I’m not saying I would’ve prevented them, but I would’ve had a chance because I’m pretty good at this stuff.”

“They knew an attack was coming,” the real estate mogul said of the Bush administration. “George Tenet, the CIA director, knew there would be an attack, and he said so to the president and said so to everybody else that would listen.”

Trump also blamed a communication breakdown under W.

“The FBI, the NSA and the CIA weren’t talking to each other,” Trump said. “They weren’t talking because they didn’t like each other. They had a lot of problems getting along — and that’s leadership. You know, you have to get your three main agencies to talk to each other.”

Trump’s critique of the Bush administration began Friday, when he noted that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush’s watch.

“When you talk about George Bush — I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “Blame him or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Trump suggested 9/11 would not have happened if he had been president.

“I would have been much different, I must tell you. Somebody said, ‘Well, it wouldn’t have been any different.’ Well, it would have been,” Trump said. “I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things … I doubt that those [terrorists] would have been in the country. So there’s a good chance that those people would not have been in our country.”

Trump added: “I’m not blaming George Bush. But I don’t want Jeb Bush to say, ‘My brother kept us safe,’ because September 11th was one of the worst days in the history of this country.”

image

Trump and Bush don’t see eye to eye on 9/11. (Photos: AP/Reuters)

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jeb Bush defended his brother’s response to the attacks.

“My brother responded to a crisis,” Jeb Bush responded Sunday, “and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe. And there’s no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that.”

“You can say we were safe after, in a sense,” Trump said Tuesday. “But we made mistakes there — we went into Iraq, which was a disaster. Not Afghanistan, which is where we probably should’ve gone in the first place, but Iraq was a disastrous decision.”