To President Donald Trump, the House's vote on impeachment wasn't just an affront to him, but to the millions of Americans who voted for him.
"Yesterday’s vote by the radical Democrats is an attack on democracy itself," Trump said during a Friday night rally in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Trump's remark follows the House voting Thursday largely along party lines to set the ground rules for an impeachment inquiry. The vote was a litmus test for the impeachment process, with moderate Democrats who had been tepid on diving into impeachment voicing their near-unanimous support.
In Mississippi, Trump framed the probe — sparked by the president's request for Ukrainian officials to investigate a domestic political rival — as an attack on his supporters in the rally audience.
He reprised the dismissive language he'd employed during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election, calling the impeachment probe a “witch hunt.”
"The Democrats voted to potentially nullify the votes of 63 million Americans, disgracing themselves and bringing shame upon the House of Representatives," Trump said. "Make no mistake they are coming after the Republican Party and me because I’m fighting for you."
Trump was speaking in Tupelo to shore up support for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who is running for Mississippi governor. (“I can’t believe this is a competitive race,” Trump told the audience.) With impeachment procedings looming over the race, Trump is sweeping through Southern governors’ races in a bid to boost his own election campaign.
During the rally, Trump also touted the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, who was killed by a U.S. military operation Saturday.
Five minutes into his speech, Trump declared that the United States had "brought the world's No. 1 terrorist leader to justice" and praised the military for the mission. He also repeated without evidence claims that Baghdadi died cowering in fear.
Trump had previously said Baghdadi was "screaming, crying and whimpering" in the moments before his death — a characterization the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, Gen. Frank McKenzie, would not confirm while describing the operation Wednesday.
"American special operators executed a masterful raid that ended his wretched life and punched out his ticket to hell, I guess you could say," Trump told the rally audience to thunderous applause and "USA" chants.
Trump also claimed Baghdadi's death had been insufficiently covered by the media.
“That story disappeared so fast, gone. And that’s OK. I didn’t do it for the story. I did it because it was the right thing to do,” Trump said of the operation. “If I was a Democrat, they’d be talking about it for weeks.”
Trump also disparaged his 2020 opponents, calling former Vice President Joe Biden “very slow sleepy Joe” and claiming “I don’t know who Tulsi Gabbard is.”
He took several shots at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who announced hours before the rally his withdrawal from the Democratic race. Trump mocked O’Rourke’s signature table-top rallies and the Texan’s past claim that he was born to run for president.
“Anybody that says he was born for this, they’re in trouble,” Trump said. “He quit like a dog.”