House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking Democrat in Congress after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, accidentally confused President Donald Trump with one of his Republican predecessors on Sunday.
"I see everything as an opportunity," Pelosi told Jonathan Karl of ABC's This Week on whether Democrats could work with Trump. "And I've never have seen so much willingness to help win. And winning means winning for the American people, that either we win or whoever wins understands the priorities of the American people. And they are not [with] President [George W.] Bush."
Pelosi immediately corrected herself.
"Excuse me," she said. "So sorry, President Bush! I never thought I would pray for the day that you were president again."
She continued, "And so you asked the question, how would I work with a Republican president? The way we worked with President Bush. We got [a] great deal accomplished. We opposed him on the war in Iraq vociferously, we opposed him on his privatization of Social Security. But we worked with him on many other issues."
Striking a nostalgic tone for the bipartisan years of the Bush administration — which Democrats largely viewed as a sort of national nightmare — might seem a little off-brand for today's Democratic Party, which is undergoing a crisis of confidence among its largely progressive grassroots constituency. But with Trump now in the spotlight, at least some Democrats have settled on using the Bush years as a sort of ostensible counterweight to the current president's more radical agenda.
For his part, Bush has slowly begun his return to the public eye after the ignominious end of his presidency, which saw some of the worst approval ratings in modern political history.
Promoting his new career as an artist, the former president won some bipartisan praise for denouncing Trump's attacks on the media, in what critics like the Nation's Gary Younge called "illustrative of a moment in which mainstream conservatism is struggling to establish its credentials in the face of a hard-right onslaught."