WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jeb Bush says he’s comfortable denouncing “Islamic terrorism” — even after Hillary Clinton invoked his brother, George W. Bush, in explaining why she isn’t using the phrase.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday, Bush said ISIS — which has taken credit for the attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris — and al Qaeda, which struck the United States on September 11, 2001, are both examples of Islamic terrorism.
“This is not a question of religion,” Bush said. “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.”
Bush wasn’t the only Republican to hit Democratic 2016 contenders over their terminology.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio compared it to avoiding referring to Germany as a country controlled by Nazis during World War II.
“I don’t understand it. That would be like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis, because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party but weren’t violent themselves,” Rubio said.
“We are at war with radical Islam, with an interpretation of Islam by a significant number of people around the world, who they believe now justifies them in killing those who don’t agree with their ideology,” he said.
Their comments come the morning after the three Democratic presidential candidates refused to use the same phrase, with Clinton instead referring to the attackers as “radical jihadis.”
She pointed to then-President George W. Bush’s response to the 9/11 attacks, calling it a contribution “that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said after going to a mosque in Washington, ‘We are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression.'”
“And yes, we are at war with those people that I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush,” Clinton said.
At a Sunday event with Central Iowa Democrats, Clinton talked ISIS, calling the terrorist group an “unusually effective threat.”
“I say that because this is sort of the first internet fueled terrorist group,” she said. “ISIS is very agile and quite adept at using the Internet to propagandize, to recruit even train insight. We have to be equally so to stand up for our values, to stand up for who we are as a people. Attacking Paris, the city of light, reminds us that there is no middle ground in going after these terrorists.”
Clinton suggested “pulling countries off the sidelines so that they work with us and contribute to this ongoing struggle against radical jihadism.”
Jeb Bush, meanwhile, also said he is open to declaring war against ISIS under the terms of NATO, noting that France has long been a key U.S. ally.
“If that’s what the French want — our longest and strongest ally over our entire history — then we should certainly consider it,” Bush said.
He added: “We need to show complete solidarity with them.”