At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Trump celebrated his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, attacking Democrats and taking an apparent shot at Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who crossed party lines to vote to remove Trump from office.
“As you know, our great country, and your president, have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people, and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation,” Trump said, reading from a teleprompter. “Yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude and strength to do what everyone knows was right.”
It was the president’s first public appearance since the Senate voted to acquit him of the charges contained in two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — that had been endorsed by the House of Representatives in December.
Before the vote, Romney announced he would vote to convict Trump for abuse of power.
“Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” Romney said, adding: “I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am.”
At the prayer breakfast, Trump said, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.”
The president was scheduled to deliver a statement related to his impeachment “victory” at the White House later Thursday.
Earlier, before taking his seat, the president held up a copy of the USA Today, with the headline “ACQUITTED” splashed across the top of its front page. The crowd inside the Washington Hilton applauded.
Trump did the same with a copy of the Washington Post and its headline: “Trump acquitted.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who signed off on the inquiry that led to Trump’s impeachment, was the first speaker at the annual event, saying a prayer for the “poor and persecuted.”
As Pelosi was introduced, the president, visibly annoyed, folded his arms and looked away. In his own remarks, Trump also appeared to take a shot at Pelosi, who has repeatedly said she prays for Trump when asked about him.
"Nor do I like people who say, 'I pray for you,' when they know that that's not so," he said. "So many people have been hurt. We can't let that go on. And I'll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House."
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