The National Prayer Breakfast has traditionally been a bipartisan faith event.
Donald Trump's appearance at the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning strayed far from the event's message of bipartisan religious grace and instead became another self-promotional and indulgent affair.
Trump touted his Senate acquittal
As he entered the event, Trump held up newspaper front pages reporting on his acquittal by Republican senators in his impeachment trial the night before.
A bipartisan group of senators — all Democrats and Utah Republican Mitt Romney — as well as the chamber's two Independent members voted for Trump's removal from office on Wednesday evening but were defeated on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, 52-48. Trump was also acquitted on the second charge against him, obstruction of Congress 53-47, with every Republican voting in his favor.
Trump complained about his "terrible ordeal"
TRUMP: 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. 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 also complained about Romney and Pelosi invoking their faith
Romney invoked his faith in explaining his vote to remove Trump from office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously said that she prays for Trump, despite opposing him politically.
During Thursday's prayer breakfast, Trump seemed to suggest they were being dishonest or using their faith incorrectly:
TRUMP: 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.
Trump compared his 2016 election victory to the American Revolution
TRUMP: Before America declared independence, patriots in all 13 colonies came together in days of fasting and prayer. In the bitter cold of Valley Forge, Washington and his men had no food, no supplies, and very little chance of victory.
Reminded me a little bit of 2016. We had very little chance of victory, except for the people in this room and some others [who] believed we were going to win. I believed we were going to win.
Trump said he was impeached "for nothing"
He also complained that it was "not easy" to "like them" — seemingly referring to Democrats — after they attempted to hold him accountable for his efforts to pressure Ukraine:
TRUMP: When they impeach you for nothing and then you're supposed to like them, it's not easy folks. I do my best.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in December for pressuring Ukraine and withholding critical aid to the country in order to force officials there to investigate his political rivals. He was also impeached over his efforts to block witness testimony and hide evidence in the earlier House inquiry into the matter.
Trump is only the third president in the country's 244-year history to be impeached.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.