WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, faced with the reality of his impeachment, raged against House Democrats on a defining day for his presidency, assailing what he called an “assault on America.”
Trump, the third U.S. president to be formally impeached, opted to take in the U.S. House of Representatives’ consequential vote at a Michigan campaign rally, where he was surrounded by red-cap-wearing supporters chanting “four more years!”
The president, impeached in a party-line vote for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, told the crowd, “I’m not worried." He vowed to be vindicated by voters in next year’s presidential election.
“This lawless partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democratic Party,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, moments after the House votes.
Earlier in the day, as the House debated the merits of the two articles of impeachment against the president, Trump chose to spend the day tweeting his discontent from the White House.
“SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!” Trump tweeted at 12:44 p.m., nearly four hours into Wednesday’s proceedings.
In a series of other tweets, Trump defended his dealings with Ukraine that are at the heart of the articles of impeachment, saying, “In the end here, nothing happened.”
House Democrats maintain Trump abused his office by soliciting an investigation into his Democratic political rival Joe Biden from Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election as he withheld nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to the country and dangled the prospect of a White House meeting with the country’s newly elected leader. Democrats also contend the president obstructed their investigation by ordering the across-the-board defiance of all House Democrat issued subpoenas.
“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!” Trump tweeted. “A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!”
At the White House, as Trump retweeted dozens of supportive tweets throughout the daylong hearing, his aides said he was in a “good” mood.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement, asserting that the president planned to spend his day “working.”
“He will be briefed by staff throughout [the] day, and could catch some of the proceedings between meetings,” Grisham said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, fielding questions from reporters in the White House briefing room, said Trump did not view impeachment as a stain on his legacy.
“We’re not fine with the impeachment. We think it’s ridiculous,” Conway said. "I think the day is solemn and sad, but not quite the way that the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are describing it. I think it’s a sad, solemn day because it never should happen.”
Before departing for Michigan, Trump avoided talking to reporters gathered on the White House South Lawn, instead walking over to a crowd of mostly White House aides and supporters who cheered his appearance.
Speaking in Michigan, Trump took on a jovial tone at points throughout his speech: “I don’t know about you, but I’m having a good time.”