WASHINGTON — President Trump doesn’t exactly look like a man who has “learned” anything from being impeached, despite GOP Sen. Susan Collins’ insistence to the contrary.
Certainly not judging from the tub-thumper of a party Trump threw on Thursday afternoon for members of Congress who helped him beat the rap. In an hourlong White House appearance that he insisted wasn’t a press conference or a speech, the president continued his victory lap from the night before, hurling venomous insults at his enemies and heaping praise on his allies and lawyers.
“It’s a celebration,” Trump declared, staring out at the room packed with his most hardcore supporters in Congress and his Cabinet. “We went through hell.”
The blowout came less than 24 hours after his GOP backers in the Senate voted to acquit him on both impeachment charges leveled by House Democrats. They’d accused the president of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine for help trying to cheat in the 2020 election.
Even some Senate Republicans who voted to acquit labeled Trump’s behavior “improper” or “wrong,” in light of the “overwhelming” evidence the president had withheld vital military aid from a nation at war to force an investigation of Trump’s political rival, Democrat Joe Biden. (Mitt Romney of Utah had the dishonor, at least in the eyes of Trump’s supporters, of being the sole Republican to vote guilty in the Senate.)
After a party (with red wine and well-done steak) at his D.C. hotel immediately following the vote, Trump took another victory lap Thursday at the White House. And he repeated, as he has throughout his impeachment saga, that he did “nothing wrong.”
“It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars,” Trump glowered. “This should never, ever happen to another president. Ever. I don’t know that other presidents would be able to take it.”
After strutting up to the microphone to the tune of “Hail to the Chief,” Trump held aloft a copy of the day’s Washington Post, with the front-page banner headline “Trump acquitted.”
He lumped impeachment together with the two-year Russia investigation, led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and labeled both part of an overarching “witch hunt” against him.
“We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia,” Trump said. “It was all bullshit.”