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Trump Expresses ‘Surprise’ By ‘Puppet’ Manchin, Hits ‘Religious’ Romney

By  James Barrett
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his Marine One departure from the White House February 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina, to speaks at a “North Carolina Opportunity Now summit. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump kicked off Friday by unloading on two of the more moderate senators — one with a D next to his name and another with an R — for their votes in in the Senate impeachment trial.

When it came time for the Senate to rule on the two articles of impeachment, which were passed by the Democrat-controlled House without a single Republican vote, only one senator voted against the party line: frequent Trump-critic Utah Republican Mitt Romney, who voted “guilty” on “abuse of power” (which failed 48-52), but voted to acquit Trump on “obstruction of Congress” (which failed along party lines, 47-53).

One of the Democrats most likely to vote to acquit Trump was West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who at one point seemed to indicate that he might move to censure the president rather than vote to remove him. In the end, however, Manchin fell in line with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), voting guilty on both charges last week.

In a pair of tweets Friday morning, Trump expressed both surprise and disappointment with Manchin for turning out to be what he described as a “puppet” for the Democratic leadership. The president also worked in a shot at Romney, with whom he’s been publicly feuding for months, and who explained his “guilty” vote by citing his religious faith. “I am a profoundly religious person,” said Romney in a statement ahead of the vote. “I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.”

“I was very surprised [and] disappointed that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against me on the Democrat’s totally partisan Impeachment Hoax,” Trump wrote. “No President has done more for the great people of West Virginia than me (Pensions), and that will always continue.”

“Every Republican Senator except Romney, many highly religious people, all very smart, voted against the Impeachment Hoax,” Trump added before returning to his Manchin criticism. “[Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)] was all in (a great person). I was told by many that Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. That’s what he is!”

Trump’s reference to “highly religious people” was a follow-up to his thinly veiled criticism of Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday following his acquittal by the Senate the day before.

“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,” said Trump (video below) “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.”

After praising “courageous Republican politicians and leaders” for pushing back against the Democrats’ impeachment campaign, Trump took a swipe at Romney without mentioning his name. “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said.

Trump then hit House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who famously said she regularly prays for him. “Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so,” said Trump.

Related: Trump: FBI Director Just Admitted Surveillance Of My Campaign Was Illegal

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