Trump plans impeachment victory lap after acquittal

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President Donald Trump hosts a roundtable discussion with small business owners and members of his administration in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump hosts a roundtable discussion with small business owners and members of his administration in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump begins a victory lap on Thursday, a day after his Senate impeachment acquittal, hoping to use the “not guilty” verdict as a cudgel in his reelection bid.

Trump will speak from the White House at noon during a formal event meant as the final word on the impeachment saga.

He already dove into the fray at an early morning prayer breakfast, holding up newspapers blaring enormous “ACQUITTED!” headlines and launching into an attack on the process.

“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,” he said.

He added later: “When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy folks. I do my best.”

The message wasn’t one of conciliation, apology or regret, which is how the last president to be impeached, Bill Clinton, ended his trial.

Unlike Clinton, Trump will face voters in November. And there are almost no examples from his presidency of admissions he was wrong.

Instead, Trump is showing signs he feels emboldened by the acquittal. After the vote, he tweeted a video meme suggesting he could remain in office for decades to come, a joking affront to his rivals.

Even as some Republican senators acknowledged Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine was wrong, there was little political consequence for Trump since they voted to keep him in office.

The one Republican who voted to convict — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney — has been shunned by Trump’s allies. The President’s son even suggested he be evicted from the Republican Party.

He is expected to scale up his politicking in the coming months, starting Monday in New Hampshire on the eve of that state’s first-in-the-nation primary. Aides say Trump is itching to add more rallies to his calendar, and one official said to expect at least one rally a week for the rest of the year. And though much depends on his other commitments, Trump has told aides he wants to eventually return to the pace he kept during the 2016 campaign.

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