US President Donald Trump has celebrated his acquittal on impeachment charges in a free-wheeling, caustic speech that drew on White House pomp to underscore the fact he remains in office.
Mr Trump walked down a red carpet to a standing ovation from scores of Republicans, administration officials and conservative media figures in the White House on Thursday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
The President re-aired old grievances and accused Democrats of staging a “corrupt” effort to undermine his presidency in a speech that lasted more than an hour.
“I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit … but this is what the end result is,” Mr Trump said, holding up a copy of the Washington Post with the headline “Trump acquitted”.
The Republican president then handed the newspaper to his wife Melania, and said maybe they would frame it.
Speaking without a teleprompter, he referred to the 22-month investigation by former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into his election campaign’s possible contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign, using a profanity.
“It was all bulls–t,” he said.
The Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday voted to acquit Mr Trump on charges brought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives. It was only the third time in US history that a president had been impeached.
The acquittal was Mr Trump’s biggest victory yet over his Democratic foes in Congress, who had attacked Senate Republicans for refusing to call witnesses or seek new evidence at the trial.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump, who has strong support from evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, criticised some of his opponents for invoking their religious faith during the impeachment battle.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who launched the impeachment inquiry in September, said in December she did not hate Mr Trump and that she prayed for him.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a Mormon, cited his religious faith when voted to convict Mr Trump on a charge of abuse of power.
Senator Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction. No Democrat voted to acquit.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so,” Mr Trump said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
He referred to the issue again in his remarks at the White House: “I doubt she (Senator Pelosi) prays at all.”
Senator Pelosi said Mr Trump’s comments at the prayer breakfast were inappropriate.
“He’s talking about things he knows little about – faith and prayer,” she said after his speech.