“He was President,” Trump said. “Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was President. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”
Trump asserted that unlike the George W. Bush, he would be “a leader” who could command the United States during national crises.
“I think I’m much more competent than all of them,” Trump said, referring to George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
“Say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump told Bloomberg.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took to Twitter to criticize his GOP presidential rival for the remarks, writing that his brother “kept us safe.”
How pathetic for @realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 16, 2015
Bush has made this into a refrain on the campaign trail, earning huge applause at the first Republican debate in September for defending his brother’s record as commander in chief.
“You remember the rubble?” Bush said, invoking the ruins of the World Trade Center. “You remember the firefighter with his arms around it? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism and he did keep us safe.”
The Bush campaign then made a meme of Bush’s quote, repeating the “he kept us safe” line.
Many online commenters pointed out at the time that almost 3,000 Americans were killed on 9/11, and hundreds of thousands more Americans, Iraqis and Afghanis lost their lives during the subsequent U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The full interview is below, courtesy of Bloomberg News. Trump’s comments about 9/11 start at the 3:16 mark.