Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) found himself in the uncomfortable position of defending his brother's legacy in Iraq during Wednesday night's GOP debate, an issue that has tripped him up in the past.
Reality TV star Donald Trump criticized the Bush family legacy for getting the United States into war in Iraq. He said not only was it a disaster internationally, it was a disaster for the Republican Party domestically.
"Your brother and your brother's administration gave us Barack Obama because it was such a disaster those last three months that Abraham Lincoln couldn't have been elected," Trump said.
Bush then defended his brother by invoking his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a day during President George W. Bush's administration on which more than 2,700 people lost their lives.
"As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe," Bush said. "I don't know if you remember, Donald -- you remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arms around him? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe."
Bush's line is something his brother has also repeated. In his 2009 farewell address, the president said, "There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions, but there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil."
More than 6,800 U.S. service members have also died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were started during Bush's administration.
Jeb Bush's claim during Wednesday night's debate was met with some skepticism on Twitter:
That's not to say George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, but they did happen during his administration.
In May, Bush struggled to answer whether he supported the invasion of Iraq. He first said he would have ordered the invasion, then he said he misunderstood the question and he finally said he would not have gone into Iraq based on hindsight.
"If we're all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, knowing what we know now, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq," he said.
"I don't know, do you feel safe right now?" Trump asked Wednesday night. "I don't feel so safe."
Read the latest updates on the GOP debate here.
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