"Let’s be clear: Donald Trump simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about," Bush says. "And his bluster overcompensates for a shocking lack of knowledge on the complex national-security challenges that will confront the next president of the United States."
He cites several examples of his rival's alleged lack of depth. Among them: Trump's 2007 remark that he believed Hillary Clinton was well-qualified to negotiate with Iran, his recent encouragement of Russia's military campaign in Syria, and his contempt for interview questions about his general knowledge of the Middle East.
Bush has repeatedly attacked Trump in recent days after the billionaire developer criticized President George W. Bush's handling of national security. "Say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump told Bloomberg News on Friday. He went on to boast that his immigration policies would have somehow prevented the 9/11 hijackers from achieving their goals.
As the dispute went on, a number of liberal commentators joined Trump in chiding Bush over his initial claim that his brother "kept us safe," given that the attacks occurred during his tenure as president. In his National Review piece, Bush pivoted instead to arguing that Trump "blamed my brother for the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
"That Trump echoes the attacks of Michael Moore and the fringe Left against my brother is yet another example of his dangerous views on national-security issues," Bush writes, referring to the liberal filmmaker who accused his brother of incompetently responding to the attacks in his 2004 film "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Whether the reasons are personal, political or both, the former Florida governor has stoked the 9/11 feud with Trump throughout the week. On Monday, he also criticized President Bill Clinton for not pursuing Osama bin Laden more forcefully and accused President Obama of taking a "law enforcement" approach to terrorism.
"I think the Clinton administration made a mistake of thinking bin Laden had to be viewed from a law enforcement perspective," Bush told Fox News host Sean Hannity "Similarly, President Obama's policies seem to be focused on that, as well."
The comments came after Hannity played a clip of the former president at a 2002 event saying he could not apprehend bin Laden in 1996 while he was in Sudan because bin Laden had not yet committed crimes against the United States, though the 9/11 Commission later concluded Sudan had never offered to turn him over. After al Qaeda bombed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, Clinton launched missile strikes against suspected terror camps in Sudan and Afghanistan in an effort to take out bin Laden, but the operation was unsuccessful.
Obama, of course, famously ordered a raid by U.S. special forces in Pakistan that killed bin Laden, following up on a campaign pledge that he would pursue the terrorist leader even it violated the country's sovereignty. But Bush folded the bin Laden story into a broader critique of Clinton, Obama, and Trump, whom he believed did not grasp the stakes of America's conflict with radical Islamic terrorist groups as he did.
"This is a war against Western civilization," Bush said. "And without the United States' leadership, this will be a problem for generations to come. And I think we need to be much more forceful, both here to protect the homeland, as well as overseas, to create a strategy to unite the world against this grave threat. And I don't believe Donald Trump has the capability of doing that."