Donald Trump was in no mood to send a Valentine to former President George W. Bush during his February 13 debate with fellow Republican presidential candidates.
He was asked during the debate whether he would retract a comment he made in 2008 that it would have "been a wonderful thing" if House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi had tried to impeach Bush for his conduct of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. When Trump began to criticize the former president, Jeb Bush interjected to say he was "sick and tired of [Trump] going after my family." When Jeb Bush sought to defend the former president’s commitment to national security, Trump replied: "The World Trade Center came down."
In an interview with ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS on February 14, Trump said, "I am not blaming [President Bush], although...the CIA said there was a lot of information that something like that was going to happen. I'm not blaming anybody. It's a tragedy." Trump called 911 "worse than Pearl Harbor because you're talking about civilians.” He added, "Now, could he have done something about it? His CIA knew about things happening... but when Jeb gets up and says, we were safe under his brother, we weren't safe."
Continuing, Trump said. "I'm not blaming anybody" for saying there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which turned out to be false.
"I'm just saying he went in there, he thought there were weapons of mass destruction, maybe or maybe he didn't," Trump said.
"If he knew that there weren't weapons of mass destruction and if he used that as an excuse to go in and try to make up for some sins for previous years then it would be a lie."
Still, Trump said that Bush’s war in Iraq was a "disaster" because the resulting flight of migrants from the region may lead to "the destruction of Europe."
Trump said, "We would have been so much better off if Bush and the rest of them went to the beach and didn't do anything. If you had Saddam Hussein, he was a bad guy and all of that, but he made a living off killing terrorists. Now if you want to become a terrorist you go to Iraq. That's like the Harvard of terrorism."
Trump said the debate "might have been my best performance." He also sought to dispel contentions that he is moderating his behavior, saying that the use of profanity is “not a big deal.” Trump said, "Look, I went to an Ivy League school. I know how to behave. I could be so politically correct you would be just bored to tears," he said.
Regarding his pledge to avoid the use of profanity he said, "I've always done it just as a way of emphasis and had fun doing it. But running in politics we can't do it."
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.