CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper on Sunday grilled former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his criticism of Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democratic presidential candidates’ refusal to use the term “Islamic terrorism,” even though former President George W. Bush similarly maintained that Islam is a peaceful religion following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
During the Saturday Democratic presidential debate, Clinton said she agreed with George W. Bush that the U.S. is not “at war with Islam.” Her comments drew the ire of numerous conservatives, including Jeb Bush, who emphasized on Twitter that “we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.”
“You on Twitter last night tweeted Hillary Clinton and the other Demcratic candidates for being unwilling to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ at the debate. Hillary Clinton says she’s following the example of your brother, George W. Bush, after 9/11,” Tapper told Bush on Sunday before playing a clip showing George W. Bush saying, “Islam is peace.”
Tapper then asked Jeb Bush if Islam is peace.
“You know what? I know what Islamic terrorism is, and that’s what we are fighting with ISIS, al Qaeda, all of the other groups. And that’s what our focus should be on,” Bush said in response. “This is not a question of religion. This is a political ideology that has co-opted a religion. And I think it’s more than acceptable to call it for what it is and then organize an effort to destroy it.”
Tapper pressed Bush, and said, “I guess the question is though, Hillary Clinton said she doesn’t want to label it as ‘Islamic terrorism,’ and that seemed to be, at least in the first few years of the war on terror under President Bush, your brother, his blueprint as well. And he said, ‘Islam is peace.’ It’s hard to imagine Hillary Clinton saying, ‘Islam is peace,’ and not being attacked by Republicans.”
“Look, all I know is that she does not believe this is our fight,” Bush replied. “The simple fact is that these are Islamic terrorists that have co-opted a faith that is peaceful and nevertheless, this is something we need to fight. And I don’t think anyone would question that my brother was in that fight. He viewed it as a national security fight, and he led. And that’s what we need to do again.”
Watch Tapper’s interview with Bush via CNN: