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.
U.S. President Donald Trump walked on stage at a National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (February 6), victoriously holding up a copy of a newspaper with a headline that read, "acquitted." Thursday marked Trump's first public appearance after the Republican-controlled Senate found the Republican president not guilty in an impeachment trial the day before.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "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.
" The president used the podium at what is a traditionally non-partisan faith event to target two of his political opponents: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was seated on the stage, and Republican Senator Mitt Romney, in the audience.
Romney was the one Republican who broke ranks in the Senate and voted to convict Trump for abuse of power.
The Utah lawmaker and former Republican presidential candidate cited his faith as his reason.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN SENATOR MITT ROMNEY, SAYING: "I swore an oath, before God, to exercise "impartial justice." I am profoundly religious.
My faith is at the heart of who I am." That explanation didn't sit well with Trump.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong." Then Trump turned to Pelosi.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Nor do I like people who say 'I pray for you' when they know that that's not so." That, an apparent reference to these remarks the House Speaker made in December.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NANCY PELOSI, SAYING: "I don't hate anyone.
I was raised in a way with a heart full of love, and always pray for the president.
And I still pray for the president.
I pray for the president all the time." Trump is one of just three U.S. presidents ever impeached by the House of Representatives.
The articles charge he abused his office to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election, and then obstructed Congress in an effort to cover it up.
After Trump's acquittal in the trial on Wednesday, the Senate's Republican leader urged the parties to put the issue behind them.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, SAYING: "It's time to move on.
" But Trump signaled the ordeal remains foremost in his mind.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "So many people have been hurt and we can't let that go on.
And I'll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House."