Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to claim that Nancy Pelosi was the worst House speaker in American history.
Users quickly reminded the president about disgraced politician Dennis Hastert, the Republican who was sent to prison for crimes related to allegations of sexual abuses against children that led a federal judge to call him a “serial child molester.”
Hastert, who served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007, was accused of sexually abusing young boys decades ago and then attempting to pay $3.5 million to a victim to keep him quiet. Hastert was not charged with the sexual abuse claims because the statute of limitations had expired.
Trump’s tweet was the latest attack against Pelosi, who has been holding the two articles of impeachment passed in December against Trump while she awaits the terms of the trial the president will face in the U.S. Senate. Trump frequently lobbed insults at Pelosi during the proceedings, and his latest tweet claimed that she held a place in history as the worst U.S. House speaker ever.
The tweet drew a viral reaction online, with many reminding Trump of Hastert, who in 2016 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for bank fraud in a case linked to allegations that he sexually abused teen boys three decades prior. As USA Today noted, Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hasert a “serial child molester” at the former House speaker’s sentencing and said it was disturbing that someone with such power could commit crimes so heinous.
“Nothing is more disturbing than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘Speaker of the House’ in the same sentence,” Durkin said.
Nancy Pelosi will go down as the absolute worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2020
Trump’s claim led many on Twitter to remind him of Hastert.
Also, Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history happens to be the worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history as well. He committed multiple financial crimes to conceal his heinous child molestation abuse, and went to prison for it all.
— Eugene Gu, MD ???? (@eugenegu) January 11, 2020
Others noted that Hastert was not alone in facing scandal, mentioning former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who was convicted of money laundering charges.
The House Majority Leader under Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, was found guilty of campaign money laundering charges. He had to resign with his hung head in shame. Let’s give GOP leadership a round of applause, everybody. It’s hard work consistently being this terrible.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) January 11, 2020
Trump did not appear to be speaking about the moral character of House speakers but rather his assessment of the job Pelosi has done in her position — though he has made some personal attacks in the past. After Pelosi mentioned to reporters that she was praying for the president, Trump took a jab at her religion in a letter.
“Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying you pray for the President when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense,” Trump wrote, via CNN.