Speaking at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast, Trump, without specifically naming the House Democrats who in December approved two articles of impeachment against him, said he and the country had been put through “a terrible ordeal.”
“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. “They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt out nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
The Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to acquit him on two charges. Trump is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
The vote was 52-48 to acquit Trump on the charge of abuse of power and 53-47 on the charge of obstructing Congress. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to join Democrats on the first charge.
Trump praised the Senate Republicans who acquitted him.
“Weeks ago and again yesterday, courageous Republican leaders and politicians had the wisdom, fortitude and strength to do what everyone knows was right,” he said, adding, “So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on.”
Trump spoke to a gathering of 3,500 at the prayer breakfast, which included elected officials, diplomats and religious and political leaders. The all-day event is hosted by GOP members of Congress and organized by the non-profit Fellowship Foundation.
One of the other attendees was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment effort. Taking the podium before the president, she prayed for oppressed religious minorities around the world.
Also set to attend is Taiwanese Vice President-elect William Lai Ching-te, raising the possibility he could meet with Trump. The visit by Lai, a staunch backer of the self-governing island’s formal independence from China, is among the highest-profile trips by a Taiwanese politician to the United States in decades.
Analysts said it could have the potential to further strain ties between Washington and Beijing as the two nations continue to negotiate an end to the trade conflict and coordinate a response to a deadly coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China. Formally, the United States adopts a “One China Policy,” which doesn’t recognize Taiwan’s officially calling itself the Republic of China.