President Donald Trump took a victory lap on Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, a day after the U.S. Senate acquitted him on two articles of impeachment.
Trump had been impeached for abuse of power, related to withholding aid from Ukraine and demanding that nation announce an investigation into one of the president’s political rivals. He faced a second article of impeachment, of obstruction of Congress, due to his withholding of subpoenaed documents from impeachment investigators, as well as ordering White House officials not to appear as witnesses in the inquiry phase.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump appeared on stage with a copy of a USA Today newspaper, NBC News reported. The president held out the publication for the audience to see its front-page headline: “ACQUITTED.”
Although a number of speakers before Trump spoke about forgiveness and love for one’s enemies, Trump appeared to endorse the opposite, launching into fierce criticisms of those who supported impeaching and removing him from office.
Trump just walked into the National Prayer Breakfast & didn’t bow in submission to God, but held up papers saying acquital & flaunted his supposed glory & victory. What’s worse, preachers & many other attendees applauded him. pic.twitter.com/MWPH63EjXy
— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) February 6, 2020
“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 in his remarks. “They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
The president also called Republican lawmakers who voted against his impeachment “courageous.”
Without naming her, Trump also appeared to lash out at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has said in the past that she prays for the president. Trump, speaking to religious leaders listening to his tirade, scoffed at the idea.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that that’s not so,” he said.
Trump also alluded to future plans, saying that “so many people have been hurt” by the impeachment process. “I’ll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House,” he added.
Trump plans to give a public statement on Thursday at noon about his acquittal, the Wall Street Journal reported.