President Donald Trump responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of formal impeachment proceedings on Tuesday with a dramatic campaign message characterizing Democrats as obsessed with impeachment.
Less than half an hour after Pelosi finished her announcement, Trump tweeted a video featuring footage of several Democratic presidential candidates and notable House Democrats expressing support for impeachment proceedings.
“Democrats have one sole focus,” the video reads, followed by footage of 2020 hopefuls Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren, along with Pelosi and House Reps. Ilhan Omar, Al Green, Cedric Richmond, Rashida Tlaib, Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Jim Clyburn backing impeachment.
The video then cuts to rally footage of Trump dismissing calls for his impeachment, arguing that “it’s working the other way, because now we have our best poll numbers that we’ve ever had.”
“While Democrats (sic) ‘sole focus’ is fighting Trump, President Trump is fighting for you,” the video concludes.
The video was not a last minute project – Trump’s campaign prepared the impeachment montage video weeks ago, an official told CNN.
“We were ready in case the Democrats were that dumb,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told CNN. “And they were.”
Trump began firing back at Democrats minutes after Pelosi’s press conference with a slew of attacks on Twitter.
He started with accusations that after his productive day at the United Nations summit, “Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.”
“Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?” he said.
Trump pointed to the fact that Democrats “never even saw the transcript of the call” he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July. Trump faces outrage over reports that he pressured Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
He asserted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received permission to release the transcript from the Ukrainian government, and “they don’t know either what the big deal is.”
“A total Witch Hunt Scam by the Democrats!” Trump tweeted, one of his frequently used phrases hearkening back to the Mueller investigation, as well as bemoaning: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham later slammed House Democrats, accusing them of having “destroyed any chances of legislative progress for the people of this country by continuing to focus all their energy on partisan political attacks.”
“Their attacks on the President and his agenda are not only partisan and pathetic, they are in dereliction of their Constitutional duty,” she added.
In a Republican response following Pelosi’s announcement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that “she does not speak for America when it comes to this issue.”
McCarthy slammed Democrats’ continued investigation of Trump – arguing their job was “not to continue to investigate something in the back when you cannot find any reason to impeach this President” – and accused Pelosi of being hung up on the results of the 2016 election.
“She cannot change the laws of this Congress. She cannot unilaterally decide we’re in an impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy said. “What she said today made no difference of what’s been going on. It’s no different than what (House Judiciary Chairman Jerry) Nadler has been trying to do.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also belittled Pelosi’s leadership, saying in a statement that her “much-publicized efforts to restrain her far-left conference have finally crumbled.”
“House Democrats cannot help themselves,” he added. “Instead of working together across party lines on legislation to help American families and strengthen our nation, they will descend even deeper into their obsession with relitigating 2016.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.