Former Vice President Dick Cheney responded to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Bush administration over the Iraq War and September 11th by stating that Trump “sounds like a liberal Democrat” and “doesn’t understand, or has not spent any time learning about the facts of that period” on Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.
Cheney said Trump “sounds like a liberal Democrat to me, Bret. He’s wrong. And he’s, I think, deliberately promoting those views in order to advance his political interests. On the question of WMD charge that the administration lied, that was thoroughly investigated by the Robb-Silberman Commission. They found absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support that. On the notion, for example, that the president failed to act before 9/11 to stop it, we had no actionable intelligence at that point. It simply wasn’t available. There was nothing we could have done and we didn’t have intelligence at that point to suggest other than there’s a general kind of a threat. Other areas, for example, if you look at what we did in the aftermath of 9/11. We did, in fact, keep the nation safe for 7 1/2 years, the president put in place important programs, the terrorist surveillance program, enhanced terrorist techniques, all of those things gave us the information we needed to be able to act, and we had the tremendous support of the American military, they did a superb job. So, for Mr. Trump to suggest that, just — in my mind, is way off-base. He clearly doesn’t understand, or has not spent any time learning about the facts of that period.”
He added, after seeing a clip of Trump at a press conference earlier that day saying that arguing the Bush administration kept the country safe after 9/11 is like a baseball team giving up 19 runs in the 1st inning and then saying it played well after that, that it’s “hard to tell” whether Trump is a Republican. Cheney did say that he would support whoever the GOP nominee is, but he don’t think Trump will be the nominee if he keeps talking like a liberal.
Cheney continued, “[I]f you’re going to look to try to find some way where you could blame someone for what happened on 9/11, it would be an intelligence failure beforehand. The previous administration, I think Bill Clinton’s even suggested, or it’s been suggested, that he had an opportunity to take Bin Laden out before 9/11, and he failed to do it. As soon as we had — were hit by 9/11, I know a little bit about it, I was in the White House bunker all that day and helping coordinate and manage our response to 9/11. I didn’t see Donald Trump there. I’ve never seen him involved in any way that would lead me to believe that he had any firsthand or practical experience about it. So, I — it’s a disappointment, frankly, that he’s acting that way. I haven’t endorsed anybody. I don’t have an ax to grind in terms of that, but I think it’s misleading for him to campaign on that basis.”
Cheney concluded, “I think one of the disappointing aspects of what he’s doing, I think especially evident back there in South Carolina, is the way treats these issues and the people involved in it, does I think, a great service — a tremendous disservice to the tremendous record of our military and our intelligence personnel, who put their lives on the line during that period of time. We were very successful in Iraq, especially with the surge in ’07 and ’08. By the time we left office, Iraq was in great shape. What happened then was, that Barack Obama came to town, withdrew presence from that part of the world, and ISIS emerged after that. You’ve got to tell the whole story if you want to focus on those events. And, of course, Mr. Trump never does.”
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