BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (CN) – President Donald Trump held his “Merry Christmas” rally Wednesday in Michigan, where he was gifted applause and cheers from Santa hat-wearing supporters as a vote in Washington made him the fourth president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the rally, 45 minutes after it was scheduled to begin, pumping his fists and flanked by two Christmas trees on either side of the stage as he spoke to an enthusiastic crowd.
The crowd booed when Pence said the House of Representatives were voting for impeachment.
“The Republican Senate will have its say in January,” Pence assured the crowd.
Trump then took the stage, clapping and basking in cheers, mouthing the words “thank you” over and over. He wished Michigan a Merry Christmas and smiled.
“Did you notice everyone is saying Merry Christmas again?”
The president spoke for more than two hours. The topic of impeachment came up quickly.
“It doesn’t really feel like we are being impeached," he said. "We did nothing wrong.”
As the impeachment vote drew closer, Trump attacked Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“You’ve got this guy Schiff," Trump said. "And he makes up a statement that is totally out of thin air. The worst statement I’ve ever heard.”
Later in the rally, when Trump learned of the impeachment vote, he gushed about every Republican voting not to impeach.
“So we have every single Republican voted for us. So we didn’t lose one Republican vote.”
Still, the president lamented his situation.
“They’ve cheapened the impeachment process,” he said. “You make a phone call. You get impeached.”
When he wasn’t talking about impeachment, Trump took credit for Michigan’s economic growth, stressing that the state should thank the federal government, and not the state government, for its success.
The president criticized Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who campaigned on fixing the state’s tattered roads.
“She’s not fixing the potholes, but Michigan is having the best year it has ever had,” he said.
Protesters frequently interrupted the speech, but only one seemed to stop the show for a moment.
“That’s all right,” Trump said. “That’s all right.”
Then, seeming to sense that the crowd wanted more, he grew angrier.
“Get her out,” he said tersely. “Get her out of here!”
As security worked to remove the woman, Trump added: “There’s a slob. There’s a real slob.”
Trump also satiated the crowd with some digs at the media.
“Those fakers back there. They’re the most dishonest people.” Trump said, referring to journalists in the press box, again eliciting cheers.
He quickly moved on to praising the military and its equipment.
“We’re building a lot of ships now,” he said. “We’re building the most powerful weapons in the world. I had a general come to me and say ‘Sir, we don’t have the ammunition.’ And I said I didn’t want to hear that again.”
Trump talked about the crowd size and claimed 20,000 people were turned away from the 5,400-seat auditorium in Battle Creek. He then suggested that Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren could not attract such attention.
“If crazy Pocahontas,” he said, then paused and waited to say it again so everyone could hear. “If crazy Pocahontas … went into Central Park … I could get Barron Trump to get a bigger crowd.”
Trump transitioned to mocking Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“They call him Mayor Pete because they can’t pronounce his last name.” he said. “You just have to say edge edge … Boot EDGE EDGE.”
Trump also took a shot at Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., widow to the late Congressman John Dingell. The president said she called to thank him for lowering flags to honor her husband after his death.
“‘Thank you so much, sir. He’s looking down on you from heaven,’” Trump recalled her saying..
“Maybe he’s looking up?” he added after a pause, causing the crowd to buzz.
Dingell responded on Twitter.
“I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love," she wrote. "You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
Inevitability, Hillary Clinton’s name also came up and Trump laughed at the idea of her running again.
“Wouldn’t that be great?” he said to the crowd, which quickly started chanting “lock her up.”
Trump won Michigan in the 2016 election by a razor-thin 0.23% margin, with only 10,704 votes more than Clinton, the Democratic nominee. It was the narrowest victory ever in the state’s history of presidential elections.
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