Speaking in Michigan as the House impeached him, Trump’s response was even worse than could’ve been imagined
Trump speaks in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Wednesday.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
President Donald Trump’s response to the House of Representativesapproving two articles of impeachmentagainst him was in some respects even uglier than could’ve reasonably been anticipated. And given Trump’s track record, that’s saying something.
At the exact moment that the House approved the first article of impeachment, Trump was 600 miles away at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, telling a relatively innocuous, absurd talehe’s repeatedly toldabout how the military’s stealth planes are literally invisible.
Things took a darker turn from there, however. Instead of backing away from the conspiracy theories about the Bidens that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Trump leaned into them, at one point claiming that if he did what the Bidens has done, “they’d bring the electric chair back.” Though that said more about his sense of victimization by House Democrats, its underlying assumption is that Joe Biden and his son Hunter did something criminal. But the bad optics of Hunter Biden serving in a lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time as his father was involved in Ukraine policy aside, there’s not a shred of evidence supporting Trump’s claims.
But the lowest moment of the night came when Trump attacked Debbie Dingell, a Democratic congresswoman from the state he was speaking in, for voting in favor of impeachment. He even went as far as to suggest her husband, the late World War 2 veteran and former congressman John Dingell, whose seat she now holds, is in hell.
Trump began his attack on Dingell by suggesting she owed him something for allowing her husband to have a state funeral after he passed away earlier this year. He claimed Debbie Dingell called him and thanked him.
“‘He’s looking down, he’d be so thrilled. Thank you so much sir,’” Trump said, paraphrasing Debbie, before going on to suggest that heaven is not where John Dingell ended up. “I said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ Maybe he’s looking up — I don’t know.”
The response of Trump’s audience to those comments indicated it may have been a bit much even for them.
After the rally, Debbie Dingell responded by tweeting about how hurtful Trump’s comments are as she deals with the first holiday season following her husband’s passing.
Dingell wasn’t the only woman Trump targeted with comments that were in extremely poor taste. Early during his speech, after protesters unfurled a banner that read “DON THE CON. YOU’RE FIRED!” Trump responded by calling a woman protester “a real slob” and lamented that security guards weren’t rougher with her while kicking her out of the arena.
When he wasn’t on the attack, Trump tried to spin becoming the the third president in American history to be impeached,toutingthe fact that not a single House Republican voted in favor of impeachment. Heclaimedthat the “lawless partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democrat party,” even thougha Fox News pollthat was released on Sunday showed a majority of registered voters favoring the course of action the House took on Wednesday.
Trump also played the victim, whining about how hard impeachment has been on his family.
Trump’s speech, which was more than two hours in length, showed that he’s not repentant about being impeached. Coming as it did a day after he sent Pelosia rambling, angry letterabout the impeachment vote, it indicated he’s not dealing well with the strain.
But even though a Senate trial is now officially looming, Trump if anything escalated the ugliness. And why not? After all, unless Republicans suddenly become bothered by his bad behavior — and there’s no indication they will — he has little reason to fear becoming the first president to be removed from office.
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