President Donald Trump has fulminated over House Democrats’ impeachment efforts – and repeatedly taken aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – though in 2008, he suggested it would have been “a wonderful thing” had the speaker pursued impeachment against then-President George W. Bush over the Iraq War.
In an October 2008 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Trump, then a real estate mogul and TV reality star, also called former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment “nonsense.” Trump on Wednesday became the third president in US history to be impeached by the House.
“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 going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which personally I think would’ve been a wonderful thing,” Trump told Blitzer in the interview.
“Impeaching him?” Blitzer asked.
“Absolutely. For the war. For the war,” said Trump, referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “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 turned out not to be true.”
Asked about the remarks during a presidential debate eight years later, Trump said, “you do whatever you want – you call it whatever you want,” and reiterated his belief that the Bush administration lied.
The Bush administration has been widely criticized for the way it hyped the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to build the case for war in Iraq. Pelosi, whose first stint as House speaker began in January 2007, resisted repeated calls from her party to pursue impeachment articles against Bush for his handling of the war.
At a CNN town hall last month, the California Democrat briefly commented on her resistance to the effort at the time, saying, “I didn’t want it to be a way of life in our country.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.