Feb. 6 (UPI) — In a lengthy speech at the White House Thursday before a crowd of Republican supporters, President Donald Trump celebrated his acquittal in the Senate after congressional Democrats attempted to have him removed from office — calling the months-long effort “vicious” and “mean.”
Speaking at the East Room of the White House for more than an hour, Trump said the House impeachment in December was part of a larger process to nullify his election — an effort he says also included the Justice Department’s extensive Russia investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
The “witch hunt” began, he said, “the day we came down the elevator” — a reference to his entering the race in June 2015 — “and it never really stopped.”
“We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars and this should never ever happen to another president,” he said.
The Senate voted to acquit Trump on both impeachment charges — 52-48 on the abuse of power article and 53-47 on accusations he obstructed Congress.
The president criticized political opponents like Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who served as lead House manager at the trial, and former FBI Director James Comey — key figures in the saga he classified as “vicious” and “mean.” He added that all the investigations he has faced since taking office over three years ago were all “bull [expletive].”
“We went through hell, unfairly, [we] did nothing wrong,” he said. “I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit. Not purposely, but I’ve done things wrong.”
He then raised a newspaper headline declaring his acquittal and added, “But this is what the end result is.”
Trump’s remarks were a continuation of criticism he started earlier Thursday at the 68th National Prayer Breakfast. On Twitter, he slammed Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney for voting to convict on the abuse of power charge. Romney was the only Republican to join the Democrats in Wednesday’s vote — and the first senator in history to vote to remove a president of his own political party.
“Had failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,” Trump tweeted.
“The president did in fact pressure a foreign government to corrupt our election process,” Romney told The Atlantic. “And really, corrupting an election process in a democratic republic is about as abusive and egregious an act against the Constitution — and one’s oath — that I can imagine. It’s what autocrats do.”
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who famously tore up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, said she did so because it was a “manifesto of mistruths” and chastised Trump for “using the Congress of the United States as a backdrop for a reality show.”