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, speaking to a room full of supporters at the White House, declared the impeachment proceedings a “disgrace” and complained anew that it was “a very unfair situation,” echoing his 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.
As Trump spoke, nearly every inch of the White House’s 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.
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to acquit Trump of both articles of impeachment–abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who voted to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment, was the only senator to cross party lines. Romney rejoined his party to vote “not guilty” on the charge of obstruction of Congress, making the vote 53-47 along party lines.
House Democrats had argued Trump abused his power by withholding U.S. aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure that country to announce an investigation into his political rivals.
Trump’s legal team argued that Trump’s request to Ukraine was a legitimate attempt to crack down on corruption, but also said if the president was trying to win reelection and believed his reelection was in the nation’s interest, such conduct was not impeachable.