President Donald Trump is exulting in his impeachment acquittal, taking a scorched earth victory lap.
First, at the national prayer breakfast he shattered the usual veneer of bipartisanship, unleashing his fury against those who tried to remove him from office. Then at the White House, he spoke of vindication and looked ahead to his reelection campaign.
At both events, he held up newspapers with huge headlines saying ‘ACQUITTED.’ He said his impeachment by the House was “evil, it was corrupt.” He portrayed himself as a victim, not a president accused of corruption, and said it must never happen to another president.
“It was evil, it was corrupt,” Trump declared at the White House. “This should never ever happen to another president, ever.”
Trump also tweeted an animation appearing to suggest he might run for president forever. The animation was doctored from a previous TIME magazine cover title's "How Trumpism outlasts Trump."
Every Democratic and independent senator found Trump guilty on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump almost got unanimous support from Republicans, save one. While all senators on the right voted not guilty on obstruction of Congress, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah voted guilty on the abuse charge.
Trump supporters feel the acquittal is the latest buoy this week to his re-election chances. They point to the debacle in Iowa where the Democratic caucuses were not able to declare a winner Monday night due to reporting issues. The count was continuing early Thursday morning.
With Republican members of Congress shouting "four more years," Trump gave his State of the Union address Tuesday.
Also, Gallup announced Trump had earned his highest approval rating yet in its tracking poll at 49%. Poll and election-tracking website FiveThirtyEight.com has Trump's average approval rating among multiple polls at 43.4%.
Opponents say they fear the acquittal will embolden Trump to reach out to other governments to seek help in getting him re-elected. The impeachment process began after a phone call with Ukraine's president in which House Democrats say Trump leveraged military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for Ukraine announcing an investigation into his Democratic rival Joe Biden.