At least there’s a symmetry to the TV presidency: As the House voted to impeach the president on one count of abuse of power and one count of obstruction of Congress, he was onstage in Michigan at his “Merry Christmas Rally” going on about the physical attributes of his political opponents and the efficiency of dishwashers. For the first 30 minutes or so of the rally, Trump hardly mentioned the events of the historic evening, except to say that “it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached.” As the extremely patient chronicler of Trump rallies, Daniel Dale, noted: “It’s like impeachment is an electrified fence for Trump tonight. He keeps touching it with like one scripted line, then retreating to something more comfortable.”
Then Trump got a hold of the vote count in the House. His immediate read did not acknowledge his newfound status as the third-ever president to be impeached. Instead, he found triumph in the footnotes, boasting that Republicans held to the party line and Democrats had not. (Two Democrats voted no on the first charge.)
From there, Trump proceeded into his longest (at 123 minutes) and one of his strangest campaign rallies to date. Here are the highlights from the two-hour speech.
Trump suggests the late Michigan Representative John Dingell is in hell
“‘He’s looking down, he’d be so thrilled,’” Trump said, paraphrasing Representative Debbie Dingell, who ran to succeed her husband’s seat in 2014. “I said that’s okay, don’t worry about it. Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know.”
The crowd in Michigan appeared stunned: John Dingell, who passed in February, served longer than any other House member, with 59 years of service. His widow was appalled: “I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love,” Dingell tweeted. “You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.” Michigan Republican Fred Upton also denounced Trump’s comment.
“The headline was Trump with the toilets. Toilets.”
The president is still complaining about water pressure in modern toilets, or something to that effect. He also complained about the performance of dishwashers, though it’s unlikely that the billionaire president has used one recently. He said that “women tell me” of the problem, admitting his secondhand knowledge of the topic and exposing his rusty ideas on the gendered division of labor.
Trump blames energy-efficient lightbulbs for his signature hue.
“Why do I always look so orange? You know why? Because of the new light. They’re terrible.” He made the same joke two weeks ago and once in September, shortly after his administration reversed standards for energy-efficient bulbs.
Trump invokes his son Barron two weeks after the First Lady condemned an impeachment witness for doing so.
Discussing crowd sizes and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Trump says that his 13-year-old son Barron could hold a rally in Central Park and draw “a bigger crowd” than the Democratic primary candidate. There appears to be a disconnect between Barron’s parents: Two weeks ago, Melania Trump was outraged that an impeachment witness, Dr. Pamela Karlan, would bring up her son’s name before the House Judiciary.
After mentioning Me Too, Trump says he won’t make fun of opponents’ physical appearance anymore, then immediately does so.
The president also made fun of Pete Buttigieg’s height, at one point holding his hand to his chest and saying “I’ve had you up to here, Mayor Pete.” He then sized up his own crowd, wondering which of his supporters was tough enough to arrest a member of the gang MS-13, a frequent presidential subject.
The president compares an actor to a plane.