President Donald Trump celebrated his impeachment acquittal Thursday in a rambling, emotional speech raging against the investigations that have overshadowed his entire administration.
Trump gathered scores of loyal Republican legislators, his legal team, wife Melania and White House aides in the ceremonial East Room and brandished the front page of The Washington Post reading: “Trump acquitted.”
“This is what the end result is,” he said to a standing ovation.
Trump is on a victory lap after Wednesday’s Senate vote clearing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.
But the event in the White House was an unusual mixture of Trump bitterly recounting Democratic-led investigations of his alleged corruption, and joking and praise for those who stood by him.
It was “not a news conference, not a speech, it’s not anything,” Trump said to whoops, cheers and whistling. “It’s a celebration.”
Trump said he’d been “through hell” but we ended up “winning” against “vicious” Democrats.
Then at times he veered off into long anecdotes about friends and enemies, turning what had been billed by officials as a “statement” into a more than hour-long monologue on live television.
He referred to former FBI head James Comey, whom he abruptly fired in 2017, as a “sleazebag.” He complained about “horrible dirty cops” and “bad and evil people,” describing a two-year probe into his dealings with Russia as “all bullshit.”
But at the end, he also called up his daughter Ivanka for a hug and the first lady for a kiss, saying, “I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony rotten deal.”
Trump now hopes to seize the momentum to push his reelection campaign against a divided Democratic party.
He began earlier Thursday at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a multi-faith gathering for Washington power brokers, business leaders and conservative evangelicals.
The theme of the breakfast was “love your enemy.”