Shouldn’t this be the first concern for the President of the United States? To protect the people……
Republicans running for president are redirecting focus to national security after Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, with establishment figures seizing on the incident to separate themselves from the inexperienced candidates who lead the GOP pack: real estate magnate Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Conservative national security experts say the assaults by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have given renewed purpose and credibility to candidates who have, for months, struggled to compete against the outsiders.
“This is an inflection point,” said Dov Zakheim, an undersecretary of Defense in George W. Bush’s administration who has consulted this year with Republican candidates such as former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.), Sen. -Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) on national defense.
“Primary voters will look to the Republican candidates with the maturity and experience to make real presidential decisions,” he added.
“That eliminates Donald Trump, whose catch phrases are insufficient, and will make it very difficult for Carson, who does not have depth of knowledge or credibility on the issue.”
Republicans say the events are transforming a GOP race that to date has focused heavily on domestic issues and has been dominated by Trump’s outsize personality and Carson’s emotional resonance.
“There is true danger in nominating candidates with no national security experience or candidates that wish to look the other way when people want to come or stay in the U.S. unknown, unchecked, and unverified,” said Kellyanne Conway, who is leading the pro-Ted Cruz super-PAC Keep the Promise I.
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton — who has not endorsed anyone but has consulted with several of the candidates — took out ads over the weekend in major newspapers in states that hold the first four nominating contests urging conservatives to thoroughly vet the GOP contenders on national defense.
Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Rubio have all seized on the Paris attacks as a way to contrast their experience against the little exposure their competitors have had to foreign affairs.
Perhaps no candidate has been reinvigorated as much as Bush, who appeared on about a half-dozen network and cable news shows over the weekend and into Monday.
The former Florida governor asked NBC’s “Meet the Press” viewers to consider “who can sit behind the big desk” and “who has the judgment and the temperament to lead this country.”
In direct response to a question about whether Trump and Carson could be trusted as commander in chief to deal with the threat of terrorism, Bush told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he was unsure.
“The words that I hear them speaking give me some concern,” Bush said.
Bush, in line with the GOP’s hawkish wing, is urging the White House to declare war on ISIS, pushing for more troops in the region, a no-fly zone over Syria and the reauthorization of the National Security Agency’s metadata spying program that was curtailed by Congress over the summer.