Was George W. Bush president on 9/11?

The most extraordinary kerfuffle has broken out between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. You may recall that during the second Republican debate, when Trump said that the poor record of George W. Bush helped lead to the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and was a reason to be wary of his brother, Jeb Bush made the assertion to loud applause that his brother had ‘kept us safe’.

A lot of people, me included, were incredulous and thought that this was preposterous thing to say since the attacks of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks both occurred while GWB was president. And yet not a single other candidate nor the moderator pointed out this obvious fact because clearly there has been a Republican consensus to pretend as if GWB’s presidency began on September 12, 2001. It is quite an extraordinary attempt at manipulation of historical perceptions.

But now Donald Trump has broken this silent pact and pointed out this obvious truth. In an interview with Bloomberg News, in response to why he was the best candidate, he said:

“OK, I think I have a bigger heart than all of them,” Trump said during a television interview with Bloomberg, when asked how Americans can depend on him to keep them safe. “I think I’m much more competent than all of them. When you talk about George Bush – I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump stated.

Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle, who was conducting the interview, said, “Hold on! You can’t blame George Bush for that.”

“He was president, OK?” Trump replied. “Blame him or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

But simply stating this act has caused an uproar in Republican circles and now a Twitter war has broken out between him and JB that is pretty adolescent in its tone. JB lashed out at Trump, saying “How pathetic for ‪@realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe” to which Trump replied that “At the debate you said your brother kept us safe- I wanted to be nice & did not mention the WTC came down during his watch, 9/11.”

So was GWB president when 9/11 happened? Judd Legum takes a look at the evidence and after carefully weighing all of it, comes to the conclusion that GWB was indeed the president when the attack occurred.

So that’s that: Donald Trump 1, Jeb Bush 0.

UPDATE: On CNN today Jeb Bush struggles to explain why Trump’s comments are wrong when the Republicans blame Benghazi on Obama and Hillary Clinton.


  1. karmacat says

    But was he president during Benghazi? Checkmate, liberals. (This is my feeble way of channeling Modusoperandi)

  2. raven says

    It’s been obvious for a while that John Ellis Bush is truly a low IQ who was born into vast wealth. If anything, he is dumber than his idiot brother.

    So far he has talked about eliminating Medicare, not realizing that his base of old white people would die off and not quietly at that, wants to start a war in the ME just because Iraq worked so well, and doesn’t seem to know what women are or what they do.

  3. Al Dente says

    Trump is right, Dubya didn’t keep the people in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or the highjacked planes safe.

  4. says

    So was GWB president when 9/11 happened?

    Back in 2002, they were trying to blame Clinton for 9/11, and since 2009 have repeatedly blamed Obama for things that happened during the Bush mis-administration. There’s enough to legitimately criticize Obama without making stuff up, yet the far right can’t grasp that fact.


    Many teabagger republicans believe the giveaways of taxpayer money to the wealthy bailouts only started after Obama took over, and that the illegal wars and tax cuts for the rich have nothing to do with the current US deficit. If they were as disconnected from electricity as they are from reality, they would be living in the stone age. Oh, wait, that’s what they actually want….

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump is right, Dubya didn’t keep the people in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or the highjacked planes safe.

    And do you remember his press conference that evening, after the Secret Service flew him around all day to avoid possible attacks on Bush himself? He said (paraphrasing) “It’s OK, they didn’t get me.”

  6. says

    Don’t forget that, as soon as he came into office, Bush and cronies immediately pivoted to going after Iraq and de-emphasized counter-terrorism and Richard Clarke’s efforts in that regard. And there was that memo about “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

    And then they manufactured intelligence to go after Iraq (yellowcake, anybody? -- thoroughly investigated and debunked by Joe Wilson, but Colin Powell still presented it before the U.N.). (“Manufactured”: picked and chose among the intelligence only those that supported what they wanted to do and were going to do anyways.)

    And finally, our military is also part of “us”, and they were not kept safe when they were sent into Iraq (“you go to war with what you have”). In fact, even sending them to Iraq on false pretenses means that he was not keeping them safe. Over 3,000 dead military personal are not “safe”. And that doesn’t count the 10s of thousands who are wounded and were not kept “safe”.

  7. says

    his brother had ‘kept us safe’.

    1800 dead and 19,000 wounded coalition troops in Afghanistan and a lot of Afghanis
    6800+ dead and ?? wounded in Iraq -- and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis

    He kept people safe, alright. With friends like GWB you don’t need enemies.

  8. Nick Gotts says

    Really, if the Republicans want to set up another Bush-Clinton contest, they’d do better with George H.W. Bush -- who of course is eligible since he only served one term. Admittedly he’s 91 and suffers from vascular Parkinsonism, but one has only to compare him to the current Republican field to see that these are nugatory drawbacks.

  9. Jockaira says

    They could dig up Ronnie Raygun, nail him onto a sheet of plywood, and with some lipstick and pomade no one would knoiw the difference.

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