Former President George W. Bush compared domestic and foreign extremists Saturday, seeming to liken the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to the 9/11 hijackers and calling on Americans to confront the growing threats from both groups.
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” Bush said during a speech at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. “But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.”
His remarks Saturday marked 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field after passengers fought against the plane’s hijackers, causing it to miss its intended target in Washington, D.C.
“It is our continuing duty to confront them,” Bush added.
‘Look to the skies and remember’: Former President Bush reminds Americans of unity after 9/11
The Republican former president’s comments come eight months after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol when a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters tried to stop the certification of the 2020 election results establishing President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Bush has been critical of the events that occurred eight months ago, saying the assault made him “sick to my stomach” and calling it an attack on democracy.
The former president said in a March interview for the SXSW conference that he was disgusted “to see our nation’s Capitol being stormed by hostile forces.”
Bush also didn’t mince words about the Republican Party in the months following the Jan. 6 attack, describing the party he once led as isolationist and nativist during an April interview with CBS news.
“When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem distant from our own,” Bush said Saturday. “So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment. That leaves us worried about our nation and our future together.”