President Donald Trump, facing a bruising re-election campaign and possible further investigations in Congress, on Thursday called the Democrats who pursued his impeachment "dishonest and corrupt" and accused some of his political foes of invoking religious faith to justify wrongful acts.
The Republican president's comments at the annual National Prayer Breakfast event in Washington were his first public remarks since the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him one day earlier in his historic impeachment trial on charges brought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
"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 after receiving a long ovation.
"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," Trump said.
On largely party-line votes, the Senate acquitted Trump on Wednesday of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, keeping him in office.
Trump is running for re-election on Nov.
Trump, who has strong support from evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, also faulted some of his opponents for invoking their religious faith during the impeachment battle.
Trump did not mention anyone by name.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who launched the impeachment inquiry in September, said in December that she does not hate Trump and that she prays for him.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a Mormon, cited his religious faith when he voted to convict Trump on a charge of abuse of power on Wednesday.
Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction.
No Democrat voted to acquit.
"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," Trump said.