“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” Bush said. “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,” he added.
Bush on Saturday lamented the division in the United States, contrasting the current political climate to the spirit of unity that he said he observed in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “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. So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear, and resentment,” Bush said. “That leaves us worried about our nation and our future together.”
He said he didn’t have “explanations or solutions,” but went on to recount what he said was the America he saw in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
“At a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, I saw Americans reject prejudice and embrace people of Muslim faith. That is the nation I know,” Bush said.
“At a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome to immigrants and refugees. That is the nation I know,” Bush added.
In addition to Biden and Bush, former President Barack Obama participated in memorial events Saturday, bringing together all the US leaders of the post-9/11 era except former President Donald Trump, who visited the New York City Police Department’s 17th precinct in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood later Saturday.
Trump, who is providing commentary on a boxing match Saturday, commemorated the 20th anniversary in a short video in which he praised first responders, and also lambasted Biden for the handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.