Rubio said at the Republican debate that "the World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him,” according to The Washington Post. NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked him to clarify.
"Well, I believe that if Osama bin Laden had been killed, Al Qaeda as an organization would not have grown to the point where it could have conducted 9/11," Rubio said. "And my argument was, no, the responsibility of 9/11 falls on the fact that Al Qaeda was allowed to grow and prosper and the decision was not made to take out the leader when the chance existed to do so."
Todd asked him if that meant he was not blaming Clinton for 9/11.
"No, he made a decision not to take out its leader, which I think ended up being there, the situation that happened with 9/11. And as this was a response to an attack, that the reason why 9/11 happened was because of George W. Bush," Rubio said. "And my argument is, if you're going to ascribe blame, don't blame George W. Bush, blame a decision that was made years earlier, not to take out bin Laden when the opportunity presented itself."
"So I'm actually still not quite clear," Todd said. "Are you putting 9/11 on Bill Clinton?"
"No, I'm putting it on his decision not to take out bin Laden, absolutely," Rubio said. "This is what happens when you have a chance to take out the leader of a terrorist organization, and you failed to do so. And the results are something like 9/11."