House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lost her temper Thursday at a reporter who asked her if she hated President Trump — but past footage from the 1990s shows the congresswoman accusing Republicans of the same thing.
When then-President Bill Clinton was being impeached in 1998, she accused Republicans of impeaching with “vengeance” and being “paralyzed with hatred” of the Democratic president.
“Today the Republican majority is not judging the president with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance,” then-House Minority Leader Pelosi declared in December 1998.
She continued, “In the investigation of the president, fundamental principles which Americans hold dear – fairness, privacy, checks and balances – have been seriously violated, and why? Because we are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton. … Until the Republicans free themselves of that hatred, our country will suffer.”
On Thursday, she snapped at Sinclair’s James Rosen – a former Fox News correspondent – when he asked if she hates Trump. The sharp moment came at a press conference when Pelosi announced that the president’s conduct in relation to Ukraine “leaves us no choice but to act” and proceed with articles of impeachment.
“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. And I pray for the president all the time, so don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that,” Pelosi told Rosen.
The exchange, replete with Pelosi pointing her finger at Rosen, was quickly seized on by Republicans. Trump accused her of having a “nervous fit,” while his reelection campaign posted a mockup video of her shooting lightning out of her fingers in the style of Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine.
Pelosi isn’t the only Democrat to have changed her tune on matters related to impeachment.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who is now leading the impeachment proceedings after taking over from the House Intelligence Committee, has been asked by Pelosi to proceed with articles of impeachment.
But in 1998, Nadler warned that impeachment would “overturn the popular will of the voters” and urged lawmakers not to impeach unless there was bipartisan consensus and overwhelming popular support.
“The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters,” Nadler said on the House floor during the Clinton impeachment hearings. “We must not overturn an election and remove a president from office except to defend our system of government or constitutional liberties against a dire threat, and we must not do so without an overwhelming consensus of the American people.”
Fox New’ David Montanaro and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.