Former President George W. Bush declined an invitation from the White House to visit Ground Zero in New York with President Barack Obama on Thursday, four days after the announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday. He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror, a Bush spokesman said late Tuesday.
Obama will go to the site in lower Manhattan to meet with the families of the September 11 attacks.
In a statement released shortly after Obama's late Sunday revelation that U.S. forces had killed bin Laden in a Pakistan compound outside of Islamabad, Bush declared a victory for America and said Obama and the others have our everlasting gratitude.
This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done, he said.
Bush said Obama called him to inform him of the news.
A pair of former Bush administration officials have said since that work during the George W. Bush administration contributed to Sunday's killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Politico that structures and processes put into place by Bush are paying benefits.
He specifically cited Bush's emphasis on special operations and Navy SEALs.
Rumsfeld did not directly credit intelligence obtained in during the Bush administration as contributing to Sunday's operation. However he said it may very well have been from the interrogation process that took place under Bush.
Alberto Gonzales, the former top lawyer in the White House under Bush, spread the credit congratulating both Obama and Bush, who adopted the legal framework for the War on Terror being used today.
I congratulate President Obama and his team for this significant accomplishment. I also congratulate President Bush who carried the War on Terror to our enemies and adopted the legal framework for that effort that continues today, he said in a statement.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday cited interrogations under Bush.
I would assume that the enhanced interrogation program that we put in place produced some of the results that led to bin Laden's ultimate capture, Cheney told Fox News.
Cheney also told ABC News that Obama clearly deserves credit for the success of the operation.