Trump Pauses Freewheeling Acquittal Speech to Apologize to His Family for Having to Go Through Impeachment
Some Democratic lawmakers suggested Wednesday that their efforts to investigate Trump's Ukraine scandal weren't over
During a freewheeling speech from the White House on Thursday, which included the occasional expletive, President Donald Trump took some time to shout-out his family for “sticking with” him throughout his impeachment over the Ukraine scandal.
Trump, 73, apologized to his children and to First Lady Melania Trump while claiming his impeachment “was all b——-.”
In his hour-long remarks — which he described as less a formal address than a “celebration,” with pauses to take a number of campaign rally-like standing ovations from Republican allies in attendance — Trump acknowledged that the shadow of his impeachment in recent months had not been “part of the deal” for his wife and kids, who joined him in politics.
“I just want to thank my family for sticking through it — this was not part of the deal,” Trump said. “That wasn’t the deal, but they stuck with me.”
Trump called up daughter Ivanka Trump, a senior aide, for an embrace. The first lady received her own standing ovation.
“I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,” Trump said.
He said something similar last fall, while he was under investigation before being officially impeached.
“‘Impeachment’ to me is a dirty word,” he said at a November rally. “It’s been very hard on my family,” he said, later adding another “very hard” to his description.
“Me?” Trump wondered to the crowd. Feh. “My whole life is crazy — what a life I lead! You think this is fun, don’t you? But it’s been hard on my family. Very, very hard.”
On Wednesday, he was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate: by a 52-48 vote on an allegation of abuse of power and by a 53-47 vote on an allegation of obstruction of Congress.
Trump was impeached in mid-December on those same charges after a House of Representatives investigation found he had withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine while pressuring the country to dig up political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.
The president’s acquittal had long been expected because of the Republican majority in the Senate. Conservatives mounted a shifting series of defenses for Trump’s behavior — as he insisted all along he did nothing wrong, despite the House investigation — and they said they were reluctant to participate in what they called a revenge scheme by liberals.
Senate Democrats had failed to push Republicans to join them in calling for additional witnesses at the impeachment trial. Still, some Democratic lawmakers suggested Wednesday that their efforts to investigate Trump’s relationship with Ukraine weren’t over.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, who was a leading lawmaker in the impeachment investigation as the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said earlier this week he would “likely” subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton — a Trump official who has reportedly claimed to corroborate the Democrats’ case.
“I think it’s likely, yes,” Nadler told reporters Wednesday when asked if he would subpoena Bolton. “When you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore, you have to spotlight that, you have to protect the Constitution despite the political consequences.”
“Don’t lose hope,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in his closing remarks in the Senate. “There is justice in the world, and truth, and right.”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney echoed that sentiment Wednesday in explaining why he was breaking ranks with his party to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office.
“I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me,” Romney said in a speech, announcing that he would vote Trump guilty on the charge of abuse of power.
“The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’ Yes, he did,” Romney said.
Trump’s children reacted to his acquittal on Wednesday celebrating their father while also bashing Romney and Democrats who led the case against the president.
“Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS,” Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, wrote on Twitter. “He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”