Minutes after being impeached, Trump says House Dems earned ‘eternal mark of shame’
45th president joins Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as only impeached chief executives
House Democrats will forever wear an “eternal mark of shame” for impeaching him on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, President Donald Trump said Wednesday evening.
“Democrat lawmakers don’t believe you have the right to elect your own president,” Trump said to boos during a rowdy campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. “Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame.
“They’re the ones who should be impeached,” the chief executive said in a state he wants to hold because of its 16 votes in the Electoral College. “Every single one of them.” (Members of Congress cannot be impeached.)
Trump was onstage in a striking juxtaposition as the House voted 230-197 in favor of the abuse of power impeachment article then 229-198 to adopt the second article on obstructing lawmakers’ investigation of his dealings with Ukraine’s new president. He joined Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the only presidents to be impeached.
He boasted that the votes were not purely along party lines, saying, “The Democrats always stick together. Think of it: three Democrats went over to our side … That’s unheard of.”
“Have you seen my polls for the last four weeks?” Trump asked, again suggesting polls that show support for impeachment and his removal have leveled off, and for him that means voters are ready to punish Democrats over the inquiry. (The public is split pretty evenly, according to multiple polls.)
Trump was ending a part of his typical reelection campaign message riddled with false and misleading statements about defense spending, weapon programs and creating a Space Force as the House voted to impeach him for abuse of power.
“I’ll be able to tell my kids someday and everybody else, ‘See that Space Force?’ That was my baby,” he said, as the crowd cheered wildly.
As the impeachment debate entered its final minutes in the House chamber and the final votes began, some cable news networks featured split screen shots of lawmakers in one window and Trump’s waiting Battle Creek supporters in another. For a presidency that often has felt like a reality television drama, the dueling images seemed fitting.
When Trump arrived at the Kellogg Arena, it marked his 14th rally of the year in a 2020 swing state. It is his second Michigan rally, a state where he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by less than half a percentage point in 2016.
Despite the House’s daylong impeachment debate, his first words into the mic in front of the rally audience were the first extended ones he had spoken in public Wednesday.
He spent several hours lashing out at Democrats on Twitter, but left the White House around twilight without speaking to or taking questions from reporters — ignoring repeated pleas for him to stop and chat. “Doing good,” he told reporters traveling on Air Force One at a Michigan airport about 15 minutes from the 9,800-seat arena.
Early in the rally, a protester unfurled a large sign that alluded to voters firing the president next November. As security escorted her out, she looked toward Trump’s position on the stage and raised both middle fingers, appearing to say “f*** you” several times to the commander in chief.
Trump once trailed the three leading Democratic candidates in Michigan by double digits in hypothetical general election races. The latest version of RealClearPolitics’ average puts him within 8 percentage points of two leading Democratic candidates and 3 points of another.
He trails former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical one-on-one race by 7.7 percentage points, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 7.3 points there. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren leads the incumbent by 3 percentage points, according to the RealClear average.
In a lighter-yet-still-mocking moment, the president called Clinton by his derisive “Crooked Hillary” nickname as he recounted a fictional conversation between her and her also-impeached husband.
“Do you think he calls her ′Crooked Hillary’?” Trump said before drawing chuckles from the thousands inside the facility with this line: “Maybe he just calls her ‘Crooked.’”