Trump defends pardons for service members accused of war crimes, blasts impeachment at Florida rally

Trump left Washington on Tuesday for the comfort of the campaign trail.

November 26, 2019, 8:21 PM

Following a string of impeachment inquiry hearings last week, President Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail Tuesday night with a rally in Florida for the first time since announcing he'd changed his residency from New York to the Sunshine State.

Trump took the stage and quickly reminded his supporters in Florida that next year they need to head to the polls and not only win back the House of Representatives for Republicans but "keep that beautiful beautiful White House."

"So less than one year from now, I will join voters across the Sunshine State, my home, as we head to the polls," Trump said.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump throw MAGA caps to supporters as he arrives for a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 26, 2019.
President Donald Trump throw MAGA caps to supporters as he arrives for a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 26, 2019.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The president quickly pivoted and issued a defense of his recent controversial pardons and support for service members accused of war crimes.

"Just this week, I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state. And you know what I'm talking about," the president said to cheers from the Sunrise, Florida, crowd.

Trump intervened earlier in November in cases of three American service members convicted or accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, issuing two pardons and maintaining the rank of one of the service members who'd been demoted.

"People have to be able to fight. These are great warriors, they can’t think 'gee whiz, if I make a mistake,'" he added.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Nov. 26, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Nov. 26, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla.
Brynn Anderson/AP

It also didn’t take long for the president to fire back a week after House impeachment hearings, referring to push as ‘bulls***’ and leading the crowd to chant "bulls***, bulls****."

"Think of this. Impeachment. A witch hunt. The same as before. They're pushing that impeachment witch hunt. A lot of bad things are happening to them. You see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said, that's really bulls****," Trump said.

PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 26, 2019.
Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 26, 2019.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The president also highlighted one aspect of U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last week, where the million-dollar Trump donor said the president told him on the phone he wanted "no quid pro quo."

"Last week, Sondland testified that I told him, what do you want from the Ukraine? I said, 'I want nothing. No quid pro quo,'" Trump said.

However, Sondland, who serves as ambassador to the European Union, also testified that he grew to believe that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine regarding a White House meeting over crucial foreign aid, adding that "everyone was in the loop."

Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first impeachment hearing, following the two weeks of high-profile impeachment inquiry hearings by the House Intelligence Committee.

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

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