Why Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are so eager to fight about 9/11 – Washington Post
Donald Trump speaks as Jeb Bush reacts during the second official Republican presidential candidates debate. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)The highly-charged fight between Donald Trump and Republican presidential rival Jeb Bush over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks raged on Wednesday morning, with Trump hitting back against Bush’s criticism of him in a National Review op-ed. Sure, Bush and Trump have had their share of dust-ups, but this one has gotten especially heated, with both sides eager to hit the other. Why? Because each candidate appears to see a chance here to talk about issues at the core of their campaign on favorable turf.
[Donald Trump doesn’t mention 9/11 at South Carolina rally, sticks to crowd-tested attacks]
In the back-and-forth, Bush is casting himself as a serious, prepared contender on foreign policy. And he’s at his most comfortable when he is talking about policy. Contrasting himself to Trump, in Bush’s view, helps him amplify his argument that he has what it takes to walk in the the White House Situation Room on Day One and comfortably make decisions.
Trump’s campaign, on the other hand, is not rooted in ideology or policy contrasts. He is casting himself as a fresh, outsider alternative to his politically seasoned opponents by highlighting their vulnerabilities in a particularity blunt way. The baggage from George W. Bush’s campaign has been and continues to be an issue Jeb Bush has to deal with on the campaign trail. Trump is trying to exploit it to maximum effect.
Ever since Trump suggested to Bloomberg in an interview published Friday that George W. Bush is at least partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks because “the World Trade Center came down during [his] reign,” a fierce battle has ensued between the real estate mogul and the former Florida governor. Trump has posted a flurry of tweets; Bush has hit back in public remarks and released a video casting Trump as unprepared to deal with major foreign policy issues.
While Bush and Trump have sparred over several different issues before, they seem especially fired up on this issue. Bush even penned a Tuesday National Review op-ed. In it, he not only criticized Trump for echoing “the attacks of Michael Moore and the fringe Left against my brother,” but pivoted to a policy-heavy pitch for his own candidacy.
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