The Slatest

In 2008, Donald Trump Thought Nancy Pelosi Should’ve Impeached George W. Bush

Donald Trump points as he speaks. His daughter Ivanka stands near him, smiling.
A slightly younger Donald and Ivanka Trump at the Trump Hotel in Dubai in 2008, a couple months before his interview with Wolf Blitzer. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

As President Donald Trump faced a historic impeachment vote on Wednesday, he spent the day tweeting about the injustice of the situation.

“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!” he tweeted (and later retweeted). “A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!”

A few hours later, after a spree of agitated posts quoting or sharing his supporters’ indignant comments, he tweeted at 12:45 p.m.: “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”

In 2008, Trump felt differently about the prospect of impeaching a Republican president. He praised Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and expressed support for impeaching President George W. Bush during an interview that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer resurfaced Wednesday.

In a clip from the interview, a more articulate Trump was asked what he thought of Pelosi. Here is the exchange from the clip:

Trump: When she first got in and was named speaker, I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person, I like her a lot. But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost—It just seemed like she was really going to look to impeach Bush and get him out of office. Which personally I think would have been a wonderful thing.

Blitzer: Impeaching him?

Trump: Abso— For the war. For the war. Well, he lied. He got us into the war with lies. And I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying. By saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that happened not to be true.

The clip circulated briefly in 2016, when Trump’s feelings about Bush were the more newsworthy element of the exchange. While several parts of the interview might jar modern Trump supporters and critics—praise for Pelosi! Full-throated support for impeachment of a Republican president!—he’s not the first person to have changed his mind about impeachment. Republicans and Democrats have repeatedly accused each other (or at least those who have been around since the ’90s) of hypocrisy, with Republicans who once pursued the Clinton impeachment over charges of perjury now blasting a similar tactic as partisan treachery.

Trump, at least in this instance, stands apart from his party: The process he now considers an assault on democracy was once fitting, in his opinion, for a Republican president.