A visibly enthusiastic President Trump brandished a newspaper with a headline announcing his acquittal when he took the stage at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.
He started by lashing out at “dishonest and corrupt people” who put him “through a terrible ordeal” – an apparent reference to Democrats who sought to remove him from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the Ukraine affair.
“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.”
“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,” he continued.
The jab was seemingly aimed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was on stage at the time, and Senator Mitt Romney. Both have cited faith when describing their relations with Trump.
Pelosi has led the unsuccessful Democratic effort to unseat Trump and developed a personal feud with the President. Despite tension between the two, Pelosi, a devout Catholic, has said in the past that she prays for Trump “all the time”.
Mitt Romney on Tuesday became the sole Republican senator to break ranks with the party and vote to impeach Trump. “As a senator-juror, I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious,” he said of his decision, which has already taken toll on his relations with fellow party members, including in his home state of Utah.
“My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president – the leader of my own party – would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.”
With Romney’s deflection, the Senate voted 52 to 48 to acquit Donald Trump, far below the two-thirds majority required to convict him.
There are still legal challenges ahead for Trump as several cases are tied up in court regarding his personal dealings and financial records. It is unclear, however, whether Democrats will renew their Ukraine investigation.
“We haven’t made any decisions about what comes next,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the House’s lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial. “We wanted to get through the trial, and so we’ll have those conversations among our caucus, within leadership. Right now, we’re just trying to take stock of what just took place.”