Washington CNN —  

President Donald Trump suggested in a new interview that former first lady Barbara Bush had a right to be “nasty” to him after his long-running criticisms of her sons.

“I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons,” Trump told The Washington Times in an Oval Office interview Thursday.

Trump was responding to anecdotes in a new biography of Barbara Bush by Susan Page, who writes that at the time of her death, the former first lady no longer considered herself a Republican due to Trump’s rise.

During the 2016 primary, Trump consistently hammered Bush’s sons, labeling Jeb Bush “low energy” and criticizing George W. Bush’s presidency. Coming into the 2016 race, Jeb Bush was considered among the front-runners for the Republican nomination, but after he had a disappointing showing in the South Carolina primary – due in no small part to Trump’s repeated attacks during the campaign – he dropped out of the race.

In a recent interview with David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” the former Florida governor said he hopes a fellow Republican challenges Trump in 2020.

On Election Day 2016, Barbara Bush did not cast a vote for Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Instead, she wrote in Jeb’s name on the ballot, Page wrote in the book, which also says the former first lady kept a countdown clock to the end of Trump’s term on her bedside table.