After acquittal, Trump unleashes fury at impeachment

Exulting in his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump took a scorched-earth victory lap Thursday, unleashing his fury against those who tried to remove him from office while looking ahead to his reelection campaign.

Posted: Feb 6, 2020 1:32 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Exulting in his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump took a scorched-earth victory lap Thursday, unleashing his fury against those who tried to remove him from office while looking ahead to his reelection campaign.

Trump, triumphantly waving a newspaper front page — “ACQUITTED” — denounced his political foes, declared the impeachment proceedings a “disgrace” and portrayed himself as a victim rather than a president accused of serious corruption. That echoed broadsides hours earlier that stunned the crowd at an annual prayer breakfast.

“It was evil, it was corrupt,” Trump declared at the White House. “This should never ever happen to another president, ever.”

“We went through hell, unfairly. We did nothing wrong,” he continued.

Trump vented about his grievances against the impeachment process and ticked off names of the “vicious and mean” people he felt had wronged him: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and former FBI Director James Comey. But then he reveled in the verdict delivered by the GOP-controlled Senate the day before.

“Now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought it would sound so good,” Trump said. Ït’s called ’total acquittal.”

As Trump spoke, nearly every inch of the White House’East Room was packed with supporters. Among them: Republican senators who cast some of the votes to acquit him, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Chuck Grassley, several Cabinet members, including Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and staunch House allies including Reps. Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Going one by one, Trump spent nearly a half hour in rambling remarks saluting GOP lawmakers who backed him both in the Capitol and on television.

He declared that the Republican Party has never been more unified and that the momentum from the acquittal would carry him to reelection this November. But he also predicted that he may have to fend off another impeachment challenge, perhaps for something as trivial as jaywalking.

“We’ll probably have to do it again because these people have gone stone-cold crazy,” the president said.

Earlier, speaking from a stage where he was joined by congressional leaders, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him, Trump shattered the usual veneer of bipartisanship at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” Trump said at the annual event.

“They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation,” said Trump, who triumphantly held up copies of two newspapers with banner “ACQUITTED” headlines as he took the stage.

His remarks were especially jarring and whiplash-inducing coming after a series of scripture-quoting speeches, including a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and president of a conservative think tank, who had bemoaned a “crisis of contempt and polarization” in the nation and urged those gathered to ”love your enemies.”

“I don’t know if I agree with you,” Trump said as he took the microphone, and then he proceeded to demonstrate it.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said in an apparent reference to Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic who cited his faith in becoming the only Republican to vote for Trump’s removal.

“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when you know that is not so,’” he said, in a reference to Pelosi, who has offered that message for the president when the two leaders have sparred publicly.

The House speaker shook her head at various points during Trump’s remarks, but did not appear to interact with Trump personally. Earlier she had offered a prayer for the poor and the persecuted.

At the White House later, Trump defended his prayer breakfast attacks on Pelosi, saying “I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things a lot of people wouldn’t have said. I meant every word.”

Pelosi said after that Trump’s remarks were “so completely inappropriate, especially at a prayer breakfast..” She took particular issue with his swipe at Romney’s faith and said that yes, she does pray for the president.

His comments were a clear sign that the post-impeachment Trump is emboldened like never before as he barrels ahead in his reelection fight with a united Republican Party behind him. And it stood in stark contrast to the apology offered by Bill Clinton in the aftermath of his own impeachment acquittal in 1999.

Clinton said then in a White House address: “I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people.”

Trump had avoided talk of impeachment in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, holding his tongue until the Senate had cast its official acquittal vote.

By the next day, he was already moving to use impeachment as a 2020 rallying cry.

Trump tweeted after the Senate vote that he would mark his acquittal with a statement to the nation at noon Thursday to “discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” The president’s supporters were being invited to join him at the East Room event.

Asked what Trump would say, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News Channel that he would talk about “just how horribly he was treated, and you know, that maybe people should pay for that.”

“People should be held accountable. The Democrats should be held accountable,” she said. “People need to understand what the Democrats did was dishonest and it was corrupt.”

The president and his allies have been on a victory lap since Wednesday, sending giddy tweets needling his accusers and Democrats and celebrating.

Indeed, the night of the impeachment vote was one of revelry for members of the president’s circle. In Washington, many, including Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, his girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and the president’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, gathered at the president’s hotel a few blocks from the White House, one of the few MAGA safe zones in the deeply Democratic city.

The president himself remained at the White House but worked the phones, calling several confidants to exult about the verdict, bitterly complain about Romney and to promise that his Thursday noon statement would not want to be missed, according to a person familiar with the calls but not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

___

Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj, Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Miller at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller

Terre Haute
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 46°
Robinson
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 43°
Indianapolis
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 45°
Rockville
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 47°
Casey
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Brazil
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 46°
Marshall
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 46°
Clear & Cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1605320

Reported Deaths: 27132
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61354910964
DuPage1039171357
Will873121089
Lake771121060
Kane65888850
Winnebago39007544
Madison38143576
St. Clair35003569
McHenry33032316
Peoria25972362
Champaign25862182
Sangamon24588271
McLean21879207
Tazewell19736326
Rock Island17806344
Kankakee16784234
Kendall15459106
LaSalle14496275
Macon14478240
Vermilion13234189
Adams12695148
DeKalb11667128
Williamson11419157
Whiteside7897176
Jackson769188
Boone760082
Coles7341112
Ogle713486
Grundy701281
Franklin686899
Clinton681498
Knox6651164
Marion6547138
Macoupin646399
Henry620474
Jefferson6060132
Effingham604382
Livingston571295
Woodford554291
Stephenson546289
Randolph529297
Monroe508199
Christian491780
Fulton487970
Morgan487296
Logan477474
Montgomery467476
Lee458156
Bureau427188
Perry415171
Saline409263
Fayette398956
Iroquois394673
McDonough354956
Jersey322253
Shelby311843
Douglas306636
Crawford304130
Lawrence301131
Union296747
Wayne274057
White265930
Richland262054
Hancock256334
Pike255956
Cass250928
Clark250738
Bond244024
Clay240047
Ford235256
Edgar234744
Carroll225437
Warren224960
Johnson213524
Moultrie211831
Jo Daviess206126
Washington206127
Wabash200915
Greene200739
Mason199351
Massac198144
De Witt195530
Piatt190814
Mercer190634
Cumberland178325
Menard158612
Jasper152418
Marshall134721
Hamilton128821
Brown10178
Pulaski98311
Schuyler9688
Edwards96315
Stark76827
Gallatin7435
Scott6975
Alexander67611
Henderson65114
Calhoun6442
Hardin56013
Putnam5444
Pope4815
Unassigned1882432
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479