Trump & Clinton's radically different acquittal responses

An apology… and a claim of victory. The stark contrast between Trump and Clinton's post-acquittal statements.

History on repeat

Trump is the first president who will run in a general election after an impeachment and acquittal — Andrew Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination after his impeachment and acquittal in 1868, but didn’t win, and Bill Clinton could not run after his impeachment and acquittal because of term limits.

Democrats felt forced to push for impeachment after Trump’s actions towards Ukraine became public

The latest impeachment process ended up with party-line votes, a result House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to avoid. But there is little sign that voters have turned on Democrats. According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats lead on the congressional generic ballot, about half of Americans support removing Trump from office and Trump remains fairly unpopular. A clear sign that the post-impeachment Trump is emboldened like never before as he barrels ahead in his reelection fight with a united Republican Party behind him. And it stood in glaring contrast to the apology offered by Bill Clinton in the aftermath of his own impeachment acquittal in 1999. Clinton said then in a White House address: “I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people.”

President Trump and his allies have been on a victory lap since the Senate acquittal

Triumphantly waving a newspaper front page — “ACQUITTED” — denounced his political foes, declared the impeachment proceedings a “disgrace” and portrayed himself as a victim rather than a president accused of serious corruption. That echoed broadsides hours earlier that stunned the crowd at an annual prayer breakfast. Trump had avoided talk of impeachment in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, holding his tongue until the Senate had cast its official acquittal vote. By the next day, he was already moving to use impeachment as a 2020 rallying cry.