President Donald Trump’s campaign issued Trump’s first official response after he was acquitted by the Senate on two articles of impeachment Wednesday, arguing that the president has been vindicated after months of impeachment fervor.
“Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Brad Parscale in a statement just minutes after both articles of impeachment—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—were voted down in the Senate.
Democrats are not able to beat him in 2020, he argued, “so they had to impeach him.”
“This terrible ordeal was always a campaign tactic to invalidate the 2016 votes of 63 million Americans and was a transparent effort to interfere with the 2020 election only nine months away,” Parscale added. “And since the President’s campaign only got bigger and stronger as a result of this nonsense, this impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”
Trump’s first post on Twitter following the acquittal vote included a video showing his face above presidential election years. It ends with “Trump 4EVA.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2020
The outcome caps months of impeachment proceedings launched in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) House and ended in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) Senate, and few senators have strayed in essentially party-line votes. There was nowhere near the two-thirds support necessary in the Republican-held Senate to meet the Constitution’s bar of high crimes and misdemeanors and remove the president from office.
Trump was just the third American president to be impeached and face a Senate trial. Former Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both acquitted, while former President Richard Nixon resigned before the House could vote to impeach him in the early 1970s.
Trump insisted throughout the proceedings that he did nothing wrong, and the president is eager for vindication as he launches his reelection bid. The president’s legal defense team argued the articles of impeachment approved by the House did not rise to grounds for conviction in the Senate trial.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the lone GOP senator to cast a vote to convict Trump on abuse of power. He rejected the obstruction of Congress charge. Several moderate senators including Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) voted for conviction, while other moderates on the GOP side such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) acquitted him.
House Democrats alleged Trump abused his power by allegedly withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine in exchange for investigations. Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian officials, and a number of senior White House officials have denied the allegations.
After the House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18, the articles were held for several weeks by Democrats before they were transmitted to the upper chamber. During the impeachment trial, House managers appointed by Pelosi and Trump’s lawyers argued back and forth while Chief Justice John Roberts served as the presiding officer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.