During the 2016 election campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received a slew of criticism from Republicans who said she wasn’t qualified to be president because she used a private email server during her time heading the State Department.
Their tough criticism of the former secretary of state could haunt them in the wake of a Washington Post report that said President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting in the White House last week.
The information Trump relayed to the Russians had been provided to the U.S. by a partner in an intelligence-sharing arrangement, according to The Washington Post. While it did not concern specific intelligence sources and methods, his alleged disclosure could compromise the U.S.’s relationship with that partner.
The president has the authority to declassify information at will, so Trump’s actions are not illegal, as he noted on Twitter Tuesday. But Republicans who called Clinton “reckless” may find themselves in an awkward position in the wake of Trump’s admission.
Trump himself got in on the criticism in July, saying Clinton was “not fit” to be president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was one of Clinton’s biggest critics, tweeting at least once a month from July to November about what he called “reckless” and “downright dangerous” actions.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Clinton was “disqualified” from being president for her emails.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested Clinton’s actions could have been worthy of jail time.
Republicans have issued more measured responses to the Post’s report, with many calling for more information while hesitating to outright condemn Trump’s actions. Ryan seemed especially cautious in a statement released by his spokesperson, asking for a “full explanation of the facts” while omitting any criticism of the president.