U.S. President Donald Trump boasted Thursday of his Senate impeachment acquittal, praising his political "warriors" while tearing into opponents.
"They brought me to the final stages of impeachment. But now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought a word would sound so good. It’s called ‘total acquittal,’” Trump said during a lengthy East Room ceremony, using a phrase rather than a single word. "We can never, ever allow this to happen again."
"This was a highly partisan situation," he said.
Members of the media were not allowed to be seated at the open press event. Seats were instead filled with pro-Trump members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, and members of the Trump family.
The president repeatedly singled out members of Congress who defended him during the months-long impeachment process, asking them to stand to repeated applause.
But as he lifted up what he said are his "great warriors," Trump continued to lay into his political opponents after doing so earlier Thursday during the typically nonpartisan National Prayer Breakfast.
He continued his offensive against Senator Mitt Romney, the sole Republican to vote to convict the president on one of the two impeachment articles he faced.
“And then you have some that used religion as a crutch. They never used it before," Trump said, referring to the Utah senator who said he voted in favor of Trump's removal, in part, because he felt his faith required him to do so. "But you know it’s a failed presidential candidate so things can happen when you fail so badly running for president."
Romney ran an unsuccessful campaign against former President Barack Obama in 2012.
Trump further took aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she wanted to impeach him "from day one" while questioning statements in which she has repeatedly said she prays for the president.
"She may pray, but she prays for the opposite. But I doubt she prays at all. And these are vicious people," Trump said of Pelosi.
The House speaker had earlier Thursday addressed reporters, telling them she prays "hard" for the president "because he's so off the track of our Constitution, our values, our country, the air our children breathe, the water they drink, and the rest."
"I don't know if the president understands about prayer or people who do pray," she said. "He really needs our prayers, so he can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him, and I do so sincerely."
The Democratic-held House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against Trump in December -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Both charges stem from Trump's repeated efforts to have Ukraine publicly announce criminal investigations into Democratic front-runner Joe Biden and his subsequent refusal to participate in the House's investigation of the matter.
Conviction on either charge would have resulted in Trump's removal from office.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to face a Senate impeachment trial. He along with Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were acquitted of wrongdoing.
Disgraced President Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid near-certain removal from office due to his involvement in the Watergate Scandal.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington