Slander in Shanksville: George W. Bush Compares Jan. 6 Protestors to Terrorists

By Nolan Lewallen Published on September 19, 2021

I voted for George W. Bush twice, in 2000 and again in 2004. I could bring to mind some positive things about his time in the White House, like showing good leadership following the horrific September 11 attacks. By his own profession, he’s my brother in Christ, and I respect that. But I was disgusted at Bush comparing the trespassing incident on January 6 to 9/11, one of the worst, most catastrophic events in the history of the United States.

About halfway through his 9/11 anniversary speech, Bush said:

And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. 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. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.

We Can Read Between the Lines

Bush didn’t specifically say “January 6,” but his meaning was obvious. Did his speechwriter really think Bush could throw such an implication out there with no accountability, simply by omitting the term “January 6”? That’s how all of us, from right to left, took it. Twitter lit up with takes like these:



If this unanimous reading of Bush’s remarks was a wrong interpretation, why hasn’t Bush publicly put out a clarification? Because it wasn’t.

False Witness Against Thy Neighbor

Those who trespassed inside the Capitol building that day were obviously wrong and quite frankly, foolish. I’m not defending their actions. Yet some of President Bush’s comments were totally unfounded. Let’s take a closer look.

“Growing evidence”? The only growing evidence concerning January 6 is that it was not an insurrection. Reuters reported on August 20, “The FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump.” We’ve also seen video evidence of Capitol police waving the protesters into the building. There’s even evidence suggesting the FBI may have had operatives embedded in the crowd. And by the way, if Bush is concerned about evidence, did he ever call for the release of the 14,000 hours of security camera video taken that day?

Random Scare-Mongering

 “Disdain for pluralism”? The protesters were protesting the certification of certain states’ electoral votes where apparent cheating had taken place. How is that disdain for pluralism? They weren’t trying to overthrow the two-party system or even a bi-partisan investigation of election fraud. The only lack of pluralism has been on the part of the Democrats. If they had the votes, they would pack the court and eliminate the filibuster in the Senate tomorrow.

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And concerning January 6, Nancy Pelosi kicked Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) off the January 6 Commission simply because they were asking fundamental questions. Questions like why didn’t Pelosi beef up security for that day at the request of the Capitol Police? But never fear, to keep the “pluralism” intact, she allowed on the committee a few RINOS like Cheney and Kinzinger, both of whom had voted to impeach Trump.

More Posturing on the Life Issue

“Disregard for human life”? First of all, I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that at least 90% of those protesters at the Capitol were pro-life. Again, it’s the Democrats who are for late-term abortions and now even infanticide. (But Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says he’s for “keeping them comfortable” while deciding whether or not to slaughter them.)

Mr. President, can you name one specific individual among the protesters who had a disregard for human life that day? The only appearance of a disregard for human life (and this is disputed) was when the Capitol police officer shot unarmed U.S. veteran Ashli Babbitt. But since it was a black cop and white protester, that story just kind of “rode off into the sunset.” Let’s remember that AOC’s serious accusation, “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive,” was a complete lie. AOC wasn’t even in the Capitol Building at the time.

Islam Is a Religion of Peace, MAGA Has a Jihad Problem

 “Children of the same foul spirit”? Bush was essentially comparing the January 6 protesters to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Strutting around in the Capitol wearing a furry hat with horns or propping your feet up on Pelosi’s desk is bad, but it’s not in the same universe as beheading Christians and flying airplanes into buildings.

Think what Lisa Beamer must have thought as she heard that portion of Bush’s speech, bashing Trump supporters while standing over the final resting place of the brave Americans of Flight 93. She was the widow of Todd Beamer, who bravely led the way with his now famous rallying cry, “Let’s roll.”

Cheapening a Memorial Service

What would cause a Republican to start parroting the talking points of the far left? Or perhaps the bigger question is what would compel a former president to get political about anything, when he’s there to honor the fallen in the presence of their families and friends?

I can’t get into President Bush’s heart and mind, but given all the bad blood between Donald Trump and the Bush family, one has to wonder if it’s personal.

Trump was highly critical of Bush’s foreign policy in Iraq. He told The Hill in an Oval Office interview, “The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” At a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump likened it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.” According to a Bush spokesman, Bush 43 left the presidential line blank in the 2016 election.

Payback for “Stealing” the GOP from the Bush Dynasty

In one of many exchanges with Jeb Bush during the 2016 Republican primary debate, Trump went so far as to say his older brother lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. And remember the label, “Low energy Jeb”? Jeb lashed back at Trump saying, “While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe.” There was no love lost between those two.

To George H.W. Bush’s credit, he told his family Trump would be welcome at his funeral. A former Bush 41 spokesman said although there was “a lot of angst” between the Bush family and Trump, they are “unbelievably respectful of the office of the president” and the funeral “is not a political event.” Amen. And neither should a 9/11 memorial be a political event.


Nolan Lewallen is a retired pilot of a major airline and lives near Stephenville, Texas, with his wife, Kim. His new book, The Integration of Church & State: How We Transform “In God We Trust” From Motto to Reality, brings the two together.

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