Donald Trump went loony-left during last Saturday’s GOP debate in South Carolina. In a heated moment the reality TV celebrity told the crowd that President George W. Bush had “lied” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
This wasn’t the first time that Mr. Trump went off the deep end as a candidate. In October he blamed President Bush for the Sept. 11 attacks, telling CNN: “They knew an attack was coming. George Tenet, the CIA director, knew in advance there was going to be an attack, and he said so to the president.” He expanded this accusation Saturday, saying that Mr. Bush “had the chance” to kill Osama bin Laden before 9/11 but “didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.”
Mr. Trump obviously has not read George Tenet’s memoir, “At the Center of the Storm.” Though the CIA picked up an increasing stream of warnings about possible terror attacks at home and abroad in the months leading up to September 2001, this intelligence did not point to when, where, how and even whether the terrorists would strike. It was “frightening but without specificity,” Mr. Tenet wrote.
Intimating that Mr. Bush knew about the coming attacks but did nothing to stop them makes Mr. Trump sound like a 9/11 truther. And the idea that the Bush administration blew a chance to kill al Qaeda’s leader in its first nine months is a fairy tale. There was no such opportunity.
Mr. Trump was body slammed for these charges Saturday, first by former Gov. Jeb Bush (“While Donald Trump was building a reality-TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe”) and then by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (“I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore”).
The Donald, though, is cunning. The day after the debate, he claimed, “I’m not blaming anybody,” but only after first repeating his smear by saying, “the CIA said there was a lot of information that something like that was going to happen.”
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