BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — Defiant in the face of a historic rebuke, President Donald Trump rallied supporters in Michigan Wednesday night as the House voted to impeach him, declaring, “It doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached.”
Trump took the stage just minutes before he became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
>>You can view the entire rally above
“We’ve done nothing wrong,” Trump proclaimed to a crowd of thousands of supporters, who would occasionally break out chanting “four more years!”
“Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame,” Trump told the crowd. “It’s a disgrace”
The House considered two articles of impeachment. The first charges him with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals while crucial U.S. security aid was being withheld. The second charges him with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling investigative efforts.
Minutes after the historic vote, Trump characterized the process as a “political suicide march.”
“They’re (Democrats) the ones that should be impeached,” he said.
Trump says he is “not worried” about impeachment because Americans “will come in the tens of millions” to re-elect him.
“I think the enthusiasm right now is even greater than it was in 2016,” he said.
Yet even as Trump slammed his impeachment as “illegal” and accused Democrats of demonstrating “deep hatred and disdain” for voters, he spent much of his two our speech zigzagging through a litany of unrelated topics. He offered an extended riff on U.S. pilots being cuter than “Top Gun” star Tom Cruise, went after Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s difficult-to-pronounce last name and reveled — yet again — in his 2016 victory.
The president talked at length about the economy, noting his administration has cut many “job-killing” regulations.
Trump made a swipe at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, claiming she “can’t fix the potholes.” He also noted he wasn’t a big fan of former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, bringing up the Flint Water Crisis where people were poisoned after officials changed the water source.
Trump also implied former Detroit Congressman John Dingell, who died earlier this year, might be in hell. His wife is U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat who voted for his impeachment.
The longtime congressman was interred at Arlington National Cemetery and his motorcade carrying his casket passed the U.S. Capitol.
Trump said Debbie Dingell had thanked him for “A-plus treatment” after her husband’s death, telling Trump that if her husband were looking down he would be thrilled.
“I said, ‘That’s OK. Don’t worry about it,'” Trump told the crowd. “Maybe he’s looking up. I don’t know.”
Some in the crowd gasped at the statements.
“You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder,” she tweeted in response to Trump’s comments.
Trump also worked to highlight the Republicans who have stood with him, telling the crowd that the Republican Party has “never been so united” and predicting victory in 2020.
He unleashed plenty on Democrats, declaring, “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight the House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans.
“You are the ones interfering in America’s elections. You are the ones subverting American democracy,” he said of Democrats.
He highlighted the first phase of a trade deal he recently hammered out with China, claiming it would even help the cereal business.
“I’ve been eating Battle Creek cereal for a long time. Too much!,” Trump said, giving a nod to Kellogg Company’s presence in the area.
Trump emphasized the importance of Midwest states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, to him winning the 2016 election.
“Ladies and gentlemen of Michigan, the best is yet to come,” he said at the end of the speech.
The president also brought up some of his other favorite talking points, including immigration, health care, gun rights and defense spending.
Serving as a warm-up act for Trump at the rally, Pence labeled the impeachment drive “a disgrace” and told the crowd that Democrats were “trying to impeach this president because they know they can’t defeat this president.”
He said Pelosi and the Democrats are “having their say tonight, but the Republican Senate is going to have their say in January.”
Pence told the excited crowd four more years of Trump would mean more jobs, conservative judges and more time “to drain the swamp.”
Colvin contributed from Washington. Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani and Kevin Freking in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.