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'It was evil, corrupt, it was dirty cops': Trump goes on hour-long 'tirade' after his impeachment acquittal

Trump addressed a friendly crowd who applauded during multiple parts of his speech.

Trump gives his statement.
Trump gives his statement.
Image: Sky News

Updated Feb 6th 2020, 7:41 PM

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has slammed those who put him and his family through his impeachment “ordeal” describing them as “evil”. 

In his first press conference since his acquittal, Trump addressed a friendly crowd who applauded during multiple parts of his speech. 

He said: “It’s been a very unfair situation. Over the last number of years, we had the witch hunt – it started from the day we came down in the elevator and it never really stopped. We’ve been going through it for three years. 

“It was evil, corrupt, it was dirty cops, leakers and liars. This should never happen to another president ever.  

“I don’t know if other presidents would be able to take it, some people said no they wouldn’t have. It was a disgrace.

“This is not a speech, it’s a celebration. We have something that worked out. We went through hell, unfairly. We did nothing wrong.” 

Trump said that at the start of his presidency, it was “all about Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullshit”. 

“We thought after the election it would stop, but it just started. It was tremendous corruption,” he added. 

Venting for more than an hour, Trump railed against the impeachment process and ticked off names of the “vicious and mean” people he felt had wronged him: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and former FBI Director James Comey. But then he revelled in the 52-48 verdict on the abuse of power article of impeachment delivered by the Republican-controlled Senate the day before.

“Now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought it would sound so good,” Trump said. “It’s called total acquittal.”

As Trump spoke, the White House East Room was packed with hundreds of supporters. Among them: Republican senators who voted to acquit him, Cabinet members and staunch House allies.

‘Warriors’

Trump’s at-times angry speech pushed beyond his State of the Union address two nights earlier, during which he stuck to the script and made no mention of impeachment. Not using a teleprompter this time, Trump delivered rambling remarks saluting “a great group of warriors,” name-checking GOP lawmakers who had backed him both in the Capitol and on television.

He declared that the Republican Party had never been more unified and predicted momentum from the acquittal would carry him to reelection this November. But he also predicted that he may have to fend off another impeachment challenge, perhaps for something as trivial as jaywalking.

“We’ll probably have to do it again because these people have gone stone-cold crazy,” the president said.

Earlier, speaking from a stage where he was joined by congressional leaders, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him, Trump shattered the usual veneer of bipartisanship at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

“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 at the annual event.

“They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation,” said Trump, again holding up newspapers with banner “ACQUITTED” headlines.

His remarks were especially jarring and whiplash-inducing coming after a series of scripture-quoting speeches, including a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and president of a conservative think tank, who had bemoaned a “crisis of contempt and polarisation” in the nation and urged those gathered to ”love your enemies”.

“I don’t know if I agree with you,” Trump said as he took the microphone, and then he proceeded to demonstrate it.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said in an apparent reference to Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic who cited his faith in becoming the only Republican to vote for Trump’s removal.

“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when you know that is not so,’” he said, in a reference to Pelosi, who has offered that message for the president when the two leaders have sparred publicly.

The House speaker shook her head at various points during Trump’s remarks, but did not appear to interact with Trump personally. Earlier she had offered a prayer for the poor and the persecuted.

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At the White House later, Trump defended his prayer breakfast attacks on Pelosi, saying “I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things a lot of people wouldn’t have said. I meant every word.”

Pelosi said that Trump’s remarks were “so completely inappropriate, especially at a prayer breakfast”. She took particular issue with his swipe at Romney’s faith and said that yes, she does pray for the president.

The only contrition Trump offered was to his own family, saying, “I want to apologise to my family for having them go through a phony rotten deal.”

Instead, Trump defended his call with Ukraine’s president — again calling it “perfect”— that Democrats used as the starting point to launch impeachment proceedings against the president for pressuring a foreign government to investigate a political foe.

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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