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The Stanford Law School professor who sparked backlash from the White House Wednesday after invoking the president’s minor son during the first day of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry had previously stated that she once crossed the street just to avoid passing one of President Trump’s hotels.
Pamela Karlan, who was one of three witnesses who testified before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, previously told a 2017 American Constitution Society panel that she couldn’t stomach walking past the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Video of the panel from two years ago resurfaced online after Karlan’s public testimony.
“I came in from the airport yesterday and I got off the bus from Dulles down at L’Enfant Plaza and I walked up to the hotel and as I was walking past what used to be the old post office building and is now Trump hotel,” Karlan told an audience in 2017. “I had to cross the street, of course.”
Fellow panelist, Neil Siegel, asked: “Are you staying there?”
“God, no! Never!” Karlan responded.
On Wednesday, Karlan drew ire from the White House, the Trump campaign and even First Lady Melania Trump after using 13-year-old Barron Trump’s name to illustrate her point that President Trump can’t rule like a king.
“The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Karlan told the committee, prompting chuckles across the room.
One of the lawmakers Karlan delivered testimony before included Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who himself made headlines in February after tweeting he wouldn’t enter Trump Tower in New York City during a snowstorm – even if he were to come inside just to buy a cup of coffee.
“It’s snowing in #NewYork. I need coffee. The closest cafe is inside Trump Tower. This is me walking to an alternative,” Swalwell said, sharing a selfie in front of the Fifth Avenue building covered in a light dusting of snow. Twitter users later mocked the four-term congressman from California, pointing out that there are many cafes in that area of New York City within short walking distance.
Swalwell announced his bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in April before leaving the race in July. The former prosecutor who’s a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees had been a vocal critic of President Trump over the relationship between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham alluded on Twitter that Karlan’s remark during the impeachment hearing demonstrated her clear bias against the president.
“Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness’. Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline,” Grisham tweeted. “And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter.”
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” first lady Melania Trump also tweeted. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”
Karlan later apologized during the same committee hearing, taking a dig at President Trump.
“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son,” Karlan said. “It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”
While speaking on the panel in 2017, Karlan took swipes at President Trump on a number of issues and, at one point, accused him of sexually assaulting “more women than 99.99% of all of the people who have entered this country illegally.”
“Every day Trump says something outrageous and people go, ‘ah, at least it’s not as outrageous as the day-before thing,’ Karlan began. “I remember this during the campaign, where he would say things, and you would think, ‘okay, that’s the end.’”
“When he mocked John McCain for having been shot down, when he made fun of the reporter with the disability, when the infamous tapes about grabbing women came out, and you kept thinking,” she continued. “Donald Trump has sexually assaulted more women than 99.99% of all of the people who have entered this country illegally. By himself, he’s done more.”
The professor said she worries that people are getting so used to the way Trump speaks that the public will never reach a “red-light moment.” She also took aim at the president over what she described as nepotism in his choice to hire his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner as White House advisers.