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President Donald Trump holds up a newspaper that displays a headline "Acquitted" as he arrives to speak at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

After Trump Acquittal, White House Press Secretary Threatens 'Maybe Some People Should Pay' for Impeachment

"They have to know when the White House speaks, those words weigh a ton, and they are giving encouragement to people to do things," responded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Jake Johnson

In a Fox News interview just hours after President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham on Thursday threatened that "maybe some people should pay" for how Trump was treated during the impeachment proceedings.

"He's glad it's over, he'll certainly talk about that," Grisham said, pointing to the "victory" speech Trump is set to deliver from the White House at 12:00pm ET on Thursday. "But I think he's also going to talk about... just how horribly he was treated and, you know, that maybe people should pay for that."


Parker Molloy, editor-at-large with Media Matters for America, pointed out on Twitter that "right before the 2018 midterms, a Trump superfan named Cesar Sayoc mailed 16 bombs to people he considered to be Trump's political enemies."

"If the goal isn't to inspire another person to do the same," Molloy wrote, "maybe speak with a little more clarity than 'maybe people should pay for that.'"

Asked about Grisham's comments during a press conference Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the "language is nothing that surprises anyone."

"But they have to know when the White House speaks, those words weigh a ton, and they are giving encouragement to people to do things," added Pelosi, who said she has been targeted with threats as a result of Trump's rhetoric.

Grisham's remarks came just after Trump flaunted his acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Thursday morning, waving around a print copy of USA Today with the all-caps headline "ACQUITTED" plastered across the front page.

"As everybody knows, my family, our great country, and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people," Trump said during his remarks at the event. "They have done everything possible to destroy us and, by so doing, very badly hurt our nation."

Trump went on to praise the 52 Republican senators who voted "not guilty," accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of lying about her vows to pray for him, and brag about the stock market.

As Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reported ahead of the Senate vote, Trump—seeking "revenge" for his impeachment—has begun compiling an "enemies list" that consists of Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and former national security adviser John Bolton, who congressional Democrats wanted to testify in the Senate trial on his first-hand knowledge of the president's effort to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations into his Democratic rivals.

"Trump, says a source, wants Bolton to be criminally investigated for possibly mishandling classified information," Sherman reported. "[Republican Sen. Mitt] Romney, Schiff, and Nadler are also in West Wing crosshairs."

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