At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, the day after he was officially acquitted by the Senate on the Democrats’ impeachment articles, President Trump took thinly veiled shots at two of the people who proclaimed him “guilty” of impeachable offenses: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), the lone Republican senator to to vote with Democrats on their accusation of “Abuse of Power.”
Pelosi famously told the press in December that she frequently prays for Trump. “I still pray for the President,” she declared. “I pray for the President all the time.”
Ahead of the vote Wednesday, Romney defended his decision to vote “guilty” on the first article of impeachment as ultimately the result of being a “profoundly religious person.” “As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise ‘impartial justice,'” Romney stated ahead of the vote Wednesday. “I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.”
During the Prayer Breakfast Thursday, Trump — with Pelosi seated to his left on the stage — held up headlines declaring him “acquitted” and criticized those who “use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” as well as those who “say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so.”
“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,” he underscored. “Weeks ago, and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude and strength to do what everyone knows was right.”
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” said Trump. “Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so.”
“So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on,” he added, noting that he’ll be “discussing that a little bit later at the White House.”
President Trump: "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. So many people have been hurt and we can't let that go on."#NationalPrayerBreakfast pic.twitter.com/79XCLpD7GP
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 6, 2020
Trump was acquitted of the charges presented in both of the Democrats’ articles of impeachment on Wednesday. The second article, “Obstruction of Congress,” failed entirely along party lines, 47-53, with even Romney voting against it. The first article, “Abuse of Power,” failed 48-52, Romney proving to be the only senator to vote against the party line.
In his explanation for his vote, excerpts of which he delivered to each of his Republican colleagues ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Romney presented the decision as stemming from his faith.
“As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise ‘impartial justice,'” he said. “I am a profoundly religious person. 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. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and disruptive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”
“I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters,” he wrote. “Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”