“We didn’t lose one Republican vote,” Trump told the crowd after both articles were approved. He told the crowd that the Democrat-led impeachment effort was “illegal” and “unconstitutional,” adding that it is a “political suicide march for the Democratic party.”
“You’re declaring open war on the American democracy,” he remarked.
“What they’ve done with this perversion … they don’t even have any crime. This is the first impeachment where there’s no crime.
“They’ve cheapened the impeachment process. And now, anybody that becomes president, they can have a phone call and they get impeached. So if the Republicans, if you had a Democrat as president, we had a Republican House, they don’t like the guy for whatever reason, or the woman, they impeach the person.
“It’s cheapened it. It’s exactly what our founding fathers didn’t want and they said it could happen. And it’s happened,” he said.
“If the press was fair, this never would have happened,” the president added.
Trump’s campaign also issued a statement immediately after the votes.
“The contrast between President Trump and the Democrats couldn’t be more clear,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in the statement. “While the President rallied with tens of thousands of citizens in Michigan and celebrated the greatness and success of America, Democrats in D.C. completed their cold, calculated, and concocted 3-year impeachment sham and voted against 63 million Americans. And the only part of the vote that was bipartisan was in opposition.
“The President is just getting stronger while support for the Democrats’ political theater has faded. Undeterred, President Trump keeps racking up victories for the American people, who will respond by resoundingly re-electing him next November.”
White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement that the president is “confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings.
“He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated,” she added.
Throughout the day, Democrats and Republicans laid out their cases for and against impeachment. On the House floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) read the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and then said, “Today we are here to defend democracy for the people.”
“For centuries, Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people. But, very sadly now, our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House,” Pelosi remarked on the floor. “That is why today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Pelosi added. “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”
Following Pelosi, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the House Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, said, “This an impeachment based on presumption. This is basically also a poll-tested impeachment on what actually sells to the American people. Today’s going to be a lot of things. What it is not, is fair. What it is not, is about the truth.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said, “The matter before the House today is based solely on a fundamental hatred of our president. It’s a sham, a witch hunt—and it’s tantamount to a coup against the duly elected president of the United States.”
“In America,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y), a member of the Judiciary Committee, echoing statements from the leaders of his caucus, “no one is above the law.”
Meanwhile, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) claimed: “This is not about making history, this is about holding a lawless president accountable.”
As the impeachment inquiry progressed over the last few months, Trump vociferously denied the allegations against him, ending in his writing a blistering letter to Speaker Pelosi and her caucus on Tuesday as the House Rules Committee voted to send the two articles of impeachment—obstruction of Congress and abuse of power—to the full House floor.
Trump accused the Democrats of abusing their power as the majority party in the House.
“You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!” Trump wrote. “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” he continued.
Noting the timing of the impeachment vote, Trump remarked that Americans will exact payback against the Democrats in November 2020.
“I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election,” Trump wrote to Pelosi. “They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power.”
Democrats said Trump withheld millions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden, who had sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas firm, Burisma Holdings, which had been accused of corruption.
While the Bidens have denied allegations of corruption, Republicans pointed to a video where the former vice president bragged about getting Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired from his job as he was investigating the company. Obama administration officials said it was Shokin who was corrupt.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman, said on Wednesday he would want any impeachment trial in the Senate to be quick and with no new witnesses—relying on the evidence used by the House.
Removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in the 100-member Senate, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to vote to convict the president.
Reuters contributed to this report.