President Donald Trump applauded his supporters and unleashed a volley of insults at his opponents on Thursday as he celebrated his impeachment acquittal in the Senate the previous day.
“It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars and this should never ever happen to another president,” Trump said at the White House
The president addressed a boisterous room of supporters, including his legal team and key Republican leaders, whom he called out by name to loud applause.
“Fortunaltey we had great men and women that came to our defence – if we didn’t this would have been a horrific incident for our country,” Trump said.
Trump turned to his opponents, expressing particular disdain for Adam Schiff, a leader of the impeachment investigation, as a “vicious, horrible person.”
The president described himself as a victim accused of false charges, despite evidence that he withheld military aid for his personal political benefit.
Hours earlier, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump held up newspapers with headlines declaring him acquitted and took a jab at Mitt Romney, the lone Republican senator who voted in favour of removing him from office.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump said.
Romeney, a Mormon, said his “oath before God” compelled him to vote for removing Trump from office.
Trump’s comments stood in contrast to the ethos of reconciliation at the annual gathering of religious people in Washington dating back nearly 70 years.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate on two separate articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Democrats fell far short of the two-thirds supermajority needed for the removal of the Republican president, allowing him to remain in office. Wednesday broughth a formal end to the divisive three-week impeachment trial – the third ever in U.S. history.
Trump was impeached in December in the House of Representatives.
He was charged with abusing his office to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation of his political rival ahead of elections this year, leveraging military aid to lean on Kiev, and then obstructing the investigation by Congress.
“We went through hell,” Trump said, adding he “did nothing wrong.”
“I want to apologise to my family for having them have to go through a phony rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,” Trump added.