With broadcast and cable networks carrying his speech live, President Donald Trump referred to the Russia investigation as “bullsh*t” as he held a victory lap “celebration” of his impeachment acquittal, telling supporters gathered in the East Room of the White House that he was the victim of a “witch hunt.”
“We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullsh*t,” he said of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Impeachment was about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. On Wednesday, the Senate acquitted Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, falling far short of the two-thirds majority necessary to convict.
In his speech, Trump said that “we went through hell, unfairly, did nothing wrong, did nothing wrong.”
The speech was peak Trump, with more of the tone of a rally than a carefully scripted White House address.
He bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (“horrible person”), House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (vicious horrible person”) and others, along with Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote for the president’s conviction. “We can say that Mike Lee is by far the most popular senator from the state,” Trump said, referring to the Utah’s other senator, who was present for the event. He said that Romney “ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency.” He called James Comey, who he fired as director of the FBI, as a “sleazbag,” and called the agency’s leaders “top scum.”
Then the president riffed on some of his most faithful supporters in Congress, saying one, Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, was perfect for a Perry Mason remake. Noting the presence of House Mirority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, who was seriously wounded in a 2017 shooting rampage as GOP lawmakers were in the midst of baseball practice, Trump said that he got “whacked” and added that he knew Scalise’s wife loved him because of her devastated reaction, saying, “A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.” Noting that Rep. Jim Jordan was a champion wrestler who never wore a jacket during the proceedings, Trump said he was “obviously very proud of his body” and discussed the congressman’s workout regimen.
Also among those present were Fox News host Laura Ingraham and contributor Katie Pavlich.
Trump also held up a copy of the Washington Post with the headline, “Acquitted.” Last year, he had the White House cancel subscriptions to the publication.
After Trump’s speech, which lasted about an hour, NBC News anchor Lester Holt apologized to viewers for the expletive but noted that it was a live event. “Obviously not something we would want to hear,” he said. CNN later replayed the moment without a bleep, as cable networks are not