President Donald Trump denounced the actions of his political opponents, especially those who pushed for his impeachment, calling them “dishonest and corrupt,” during a speech before the National Prayer Breakfast.
President Trump addressed the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, held in Washington, D.C., the day after the United States Senate voted to acquit him of two articles of impeachment brought by Democrats in the lower chamber.
At the start of his speech, he said that he was unsure he could agree with the idea of loving one’s enemies, a theme of the prayer breakfast, in light of the impeachment trial.
“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,” Trump said.
“They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
Trump commended “courageous Republican politicians and leaders” for opposing impeachment, while declaring, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.”
Without specifically naming the Democratic Speaker of the House, the president criticized Nancy Pelosi, who months back had said that she prays for the president’s well-being.
“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so,” he said. “So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on.”
Later in the speech, he admitted that loving one’s enemies, which the keynote speaker Arthur Brooks discussed, was not easy when it came to impeachment.
“When they impeach you for nothing, you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy folks. I’m doing my best,” said Trump, getting some laughter from the audience.
When Trump arrived at the event, he held up multiple newspapers with front page headlines reporting on his acquittal before the breakfast event continued.
Trump also discussed other matters, including statistics on economic progress, the value of religious freedom in the U.S., and the importance of faith in everyday life.
“So much of the greatness we have achieved, the mysteries we have unlocked and the wonders we’ve built, the challenges we’ve met, and the incredible heights that we’ve reached, has come from the faith of our families and the prayers of our people,” the president said.
Trump also called on attendees to vote in the presidential election in November, “because you have a lot of people out there that aren’t liking what we’re doing.”
“Together, we are building the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society,” he said. “We are lifting up citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.”
Attended by thousands of political and religious leaders from several countries, the National Prayer Breakfast featured scripture readings from members of Congress.
The official welcome and opening prayer were given by Reps. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., and Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.
The agenda included a focus on individuals persecuted for their beliefs, with some religious dissidents present for the event who were applauded by those in attendance.
Brooks, who gave the keynote address, is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of multiple best-selling books, including the 2019 book, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt.
Trump’s speech at the breakfast came the day after the Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit him on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress brought by Democratic members of the House with no Republican support.
While the votes largely fell on party lines, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a devout Mormon, voted guilty on the abuse of power charge.
During his remarks on the Senate floor, Romney stressed that it was based on an “inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it.”
“I support a great deal of what the president has done. I have voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside,” Romney said.
“I believe that our Constitution was inspired by providence. I am convinced that freedom itself is dependent on the strength and vitality of our national character. As it is with each senator, my vote is an act of conviction.”