September 11: George W. Bush vs Donald J. Trump

September 11:  George W. Bush vs Donald J. Trump
Illustration: Andrew Rae

George W. Bush gave the first 9/11 address on that very date back in 2001. His composure, reassurance and resolution struck exactly the right tone for a nation reeling from the attack earlier that day.

Donald Trump gave his 9/11 speech yesterday and his tone could not have been more discordant, self absorbed and detached.

Bush’s address began, Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts.

Three times in the first sentence Bush used the word “our,” putting himself and the rest of us on the same team, facing the threat together.

Trump’s rambling started with, I vividly remember when I first heard the news. I was sitting at home watching a major business television show.

Not surprisingly, Trump began his address with his favorite word, “I.”  In a weird symmetry he, too, used the pronoun three times in the first sentence.

Of course, he wasn’t just watching CNBC, he was watching a major business television show.  Why would he watch a minor business television show?

Back then, he watched CNBC for news, but once he became a candidate and they started saying negative things about him, it all became “fake news.”

George Bush not only recognized the importance of acknowledging the attack on America, but also the need to reassure America that it would never happened again.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge an attack by a foreign, hostile nation.

Mr. Trump exonerated his boss, Vladimir Putin and threw the entire American intelligence community, SEVENTEEN SEPARATE AGENCIES, under the bus and out the window.

On September 17, 2001, just six days after the attack, George Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington and hailed Muslims as our friends and tax paying citizens.

He went on to say, These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

Bush instinctively told America that Muslims were not its enemies.  He instinctively reached out to heal the wounds of a nation.

In November of 2015 Trump said, I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.

Trump, of course, was talking about Muslims.  He made it up.  It never happened.  It was a lie, one of the biggest, most egregious and toxic of his fledgling campaign.

It was also a trial balloon, many more lies to come.

The Great Divider works reflexively to sow fear and resentment, intent on deepening the chasm of polarization.

In his speech yesterday, Trump said there was great confusion about what happened to the World Trade Center.  Only he knew what was happening.

Another lie.  At 8:45 AM, just moments after the first plane hit WTC, the Today Show’s Katie Couric said that it appeared that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  See that video HERE.

A fund was set up for businesses impacted by 9/11, some that were destroyed without hope of rebuilding. Donald Trump had no such business in New York, but that didn’t stop him from stealing $150,000 from that fund.

That’s right, he STOLE $150,000 from a fund set up to help small business owners.

Trump said that he watched out his window as people jumped to their deaths.  LIE.  His window was four miles away and his eyesight is just not that good.

He said he had two hundred workers at ground zero, but no one saw any of them.  In every picture of him anywhere near the site, he was wearing his blue suit, red tie “work clothes.”

Trump said that with the collapse of WTC, his building at 40 Wall Street was once again the tallest in Manhattan.  He said that with all the destruction, his properties would go up in value.

9/11 was a windfall for Trump.

I didn’t think Bush had the background knowledge or intellectual curiosity to be president.  Compared to Donald Trump, Bush is Albert Einstein.

In that moment, on that day, George W. Bush was smart enough to be a great president.  In that moment, on that day and on the days to follow, George W. Bush was America’s president.

Yesterday, on that date in history, Donald Trump could only beat his own drum.  At least he didn’t have the Taliban there, holding it for him.

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