Trump brandishes 'Acquitted' headlines, lashes out at prayer breakfast

The annual event is supposed to be non-political.

February 6, 2020, 9:32 AM

Defiant in victory about his Senate trial acquittal Thursday morning, President Trump held up copies of newspapers with banner headlines saying so and lashed out at his impeachment at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

President Donald Trump holds up a newspaper with the headline that reads "ACQUITTED" during the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 6, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
Evan Vucci/AP

After walking on stage to applause, the president proudly brandished a copy of the USA Today front page that said “ACQUITTED” in large font, to the cheers of some in the audience.

He next held up the Washington Post, showing off its “Trump acquitted” banner headline.

President Donald Trump holds up a newspaper with the headline that reads "Trump acquitted" during the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 6, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
Evan Vucci/AP

When it was his turn to speak, Trump, in a hoarse voice, said he didn't agree with the message of the keynote speaker that political opponents shouldn't be treated as "enemies," instead saying he and the country had been put through "a terrible ordeal" by "very dishonest people."

“They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation,” he said.

He appeared to target Utah Republican Mitt Romney who voted to convict him after saying he was guided by his faith.

"I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong," he said.

"Nor do I like people who say, I pray for you, when they know that that's not so," an apparent reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting nearby, who has said she prays for Trump daily.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seated as President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, 2020.
Leah Millis/Reuters

Romney aside, the president praised “courageous Republican politicians” who stood by him.

“Weeks ago, and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude and strength to do what everyone knows was right,” he said.

The president was again sharing the stage with Pelosi, just two days after their contentious interactions at the president’s State of the Union address that began with the president declining to shake Pelosi’s hand and ended with Pelosi tearing up a copy of the president’s speech.

Teasing forward to his scheduled noon remarks at the White House, the president said more is to come.

"So many people have been hurt, and we can't let that go on," the president said, "And I'll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House."

The National Prayer Breakfast is supposed to be a non-political event, attended by members of both parties.

Toward the end of his remarks, Trump said, "We are grateful to the people of this room for the love they show to religion, not one religion, but many religions.

"They are brave, they are brilliant, they are fighters, they like people and sometimes they hate people. I'm sorry. I apologize. I am trying to learn," he said as some in the audience laughed. "It’s not easy," he continued to more laughter and applause. "It's not easy."

"When they impeach you for nothing, and you're supposed to like them, it's not easy, folks. I do my best. But I will tell you what we are doing, restoring hope and spreading faith, helping the citizens of every background take part in the great rebuilding of our nation," he said, before ending with, "God bless America."

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