Over the years, Republicans — particularly Donald Trump supporters — have done a 180 (or a full 360) in their remarks about WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. When he leaked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, some Republicans said he was doing America a great service. But now the Trump administration is poised to attempt to convict Assange and WikiLeaks for their leaking activities. Here are five times Trump and his supporters have flipped on the matter.
In 2010, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said this about Assange: “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”
In 2016, though, Palin changed her tune. She posted an apology to Assange on Facebook. “I apologize for condemning Assange when he published my infamous (and proven noncontroversial, relatively boring) emails years ago,” she wrote.
Way back when, Fox News host Sean Hannity said what Assange was doing was “waging his war on America” and called for his arrest. He also said WikiLeaks stealing and publishing classified documents put lives at risk, as Media Matters reported.
When Assange started leaking emails from the Clinton campaign, though, Hannity became very friendly. He even brought the WikiLeaks founder onto his show for an interview, saying “America owes you a debt of gratitude.”
Back in 2010, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Assange was a terrorist. “Information warfare is warfare. Julian Assange is engaged in warfare. Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism.”
Once WikiLeaks turned its attention to Clinton, though, Huckabee was ready to discuss Hillary Clinton’s “criminal enterprise,” as he called it, on “Hannity.” He didn’t, however, have anything to say about where the leaks came from or whether the leakers should be brought up on treason charges.
Trump had strong words for Wikileaks in 2010. As CNN reported, in an interview with radio host Brian Kilmeade, Trump said of Wikileaks, “I think it's disgraceful, I think there should be like death penalty or something.”
During the campaign, though, Trump’s support for WikiLeaks was hard to miss. He tweeted over and over again about things WikiLeaks documents about the Clinton campaign, and said at one campaign rally in October, “WikiLeaks has provided things that are unbelievable.”
While Trump repeatedly tweeted about documents released by WikiLeaks aimed at damaging Clinton, he also tweeted it was the “dishonest media” that claimed he was in agreement with WikiLeaks.