Just after former FBI Director James Comey appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss allegations that the president fired him to halt the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump vowed to beat back his detractors and fulfill his Oval Office agenda.
The president’s defiant remarks came during a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington on Thursday.
Trump began the speech with praise for his supporters in the coalition, noting that it’s members led an ambitious ground campaign to better his electoral odds in key battleground states.
“I’m honored by your incredible support and grateful for your commitment to our shared cause,” Trump said. “Thank you for all that you do.
“You didn’t let me down and I will never, ever let you down.”
But the president’s tone quickly shifted from humbled and congratulatory to bold and defiant.
“As you know, we’re under siege,” Trump said. “But we will come out bigger, and better and stronger than ever, you watch.”
The president said that his primary goal is to fight for the American people and to fight for America first.
“The forgotten men and women will never, ever be forgotten again,” Trump said.
“Remember they said ‘where did all these people come from?’” The president asked. “You know what, they’re still trying to figure it out. They don’t get it.
“Your voices will resound across the halls of our Capitol and across the world,” he added.
Top White House officials said the president felt “vindicated” following the release of Comey’s prepared testimony on Wednesday.
And for good reason.
The former FBI director’s testimony provided little evidence to further back Democrat claims that Trump colluded with Russia and fired Comey in a cover-up attempt. Most of what the former official said only served to confirm the existence of pseudo-evidence against the administration such as his own memos, which he admitted to playing a part in leaking to the press.
Beyond implicating himself as the leaker, perhaps Comey’s biggest contribution Thursday was creating new questions about why, if he felt the president’s alleged requests were improper, he didn’t tell Trump outright that he was out of line and contact White House counsel.
Comey also accused Trump of being a liar during the testimony.
“The administration chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly run,” Comey said.
Trump didn’t mention Comey’s testimony during his speech, instead choosing to focus on his successes in reducing illegal immigration, working to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and vowing, via Supreme Court appointments and legislation, to protect religious freedom in the U.S.
He did however continue hinting at the controversies his detractors are working to stir against him, characterizing the issues as distractions meant to derail his agenda.
“They will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “We are going to fight and win.”