There’s a reason Ronald Reagan once said that Republicans should never speak ill of another Republican: it needlessly gives Democrats an opening to attack. Donald Trump, however, doesn’t seem to subscribe to the Reagan philosophy.
Trump’s comments blaming President George W. Bush (in part) for the 9/11 attacks has opened the floodgates for Democrats to do the exact same thing, openly attacking Bush and the GOP and promoting liberal policies. According to Jonathan Easley of TheHill.com, politicizing 9/11 was taboo among politicians, including Democrats, but after Trump opened the door, liberals ran right through. He reports:
On Monday, former Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse sent an email to supporters with the subject line: “Trump is right about 9/11,” linking to an article with the same headline in The Atlantic that argues George W. Bush could have done more to prevent the attack.
Meanwhile, liberals trumpeted a weekend exchange between Jeb Bush and CNN anchor Jake Tapper in which the former Florida governor had to answer why his brother shouldn’t shoulder more blame for the nation’s security leading up to 9/11 if Republicans can blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the lack of security leading up to the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
By fanning the fire from Trump, Democrats are looking to pile on Jeb Bush, a presidential contender the party has long seen as a formidable general election candidate but who has struggled to maintain his standing in the Republican primary.
“Democrats are happy to undermine Jeb in any way here, and this really is a twofer,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “It’s an attack on someone who is not doing well in the primary but who could run strong in the general election.”
A liberal political group called Americans United for Change also followed Trump’s lead, using Jeb Bush’s statement that his brother George kept America safe after 9/11 was an attempt to “rewrite history.” Democrats are hoping voters will forget that the negative opinion of the Bush years came not from national security, but from the terrible state of the economy. Trump’s statements only play into the Democrats’ endgame.
Trump’s continued rhetoric will only benefit Democratic presidential contenders, as Republicans are forced to circle the wagons and defend the response to 9/11, rather than focus on Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Trump’s narcissism may benefit him personally in the short term, but it is damaging the Republican brand in the long run.
Thanks for nothing, Donald.