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Former President Bush in 9/11 speech draws comparisons to Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Bush chose to make political points during this solemn and somber occasion.

Updated: September 11, 2021 - 5:21pm

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Former President George W. Bush spoke in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and appeared to be comparing the terrorists who attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 to those involved in the riots and protests that erupted at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 of this year. 

He spoke at the memorial service for Flight 93 in Pennsylvania: 

"We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within," he said, without specifically referring to Jan. 6.

"There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home," he went on. "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."

"A malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures," Bush added. "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."

As CNN noted, the implication by Bush would be consistent with his previous public statements about Jan. 6. "The former Republican President has been outspoken about condemning the violent mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol that day," the network reported. "'This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic,' Bush said in a statement at the time, adding that he was 'appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election.'"

In a less political part of his speech, Bush paid tribute to the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 who perished that day in Shanksville: 

"These lives remain precious to our country, and infinitely precious to many of you," he said. "Today we remember your loss, we share your sorrow and we honor the men and women you have loved so long and so well."

Bush said that on America's darkest day, the "actions of an enemy revealed the spirit of a people."

"We were proud of our wounded nation," he told the crowd. "In these memories, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 must always have an honored place. Here the intended targets became the instruments of rescue. And many who are now alive owe a vast, unconscious debt to the defiance displayed in the skies above this field."