NYT's Bret Stephens on Trump impeachment comments: 'That was a frightening moment of television'

Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens called President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE’s response to his acquittal on two articles of impeachment a “frightening moment” on MSNBC Live Thursday morning.

Stephens made the comment in response to a clip of Trump’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

In the speech, Trump said the nation had been “put through a terrible ordeal [by] corrupt people.” He also expressed disdain for people who “use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong [or who] say ‘I’ll pray for you’ when they know that that's not so."


Trump's comments were an apparent reference to House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGohmert says Jan. 6 mob attack on Capitol not an 'armed insurrection' Meghan McCain: Greene 'behaving like an animal' GOP Rep. Turner to lead House push to address military sexual assault MORE (D-Calif.), who in the past has said she prays for the president "all the time," and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyImmigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Top border officials defend Biden policies US Olympic Committee urges Congress not to boycott Games in China MORE (R-Utah), who cited his faith in announcing his vote for conviction on the first article, abuse of power.

“My instant reaction is that this sounds like the preface for a vindictive moment,” Stephens said, saying that it was reminiscent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s response to an unsuccessful 2016 coup. “I don’t want to go that far, but there was that tone of nastiness and 'get ready for that.' That was a frightening moment of television right there."

Stephens also compared Romney — who on Wednesday became the first U.S. senator in history to vote to remove a president from his own party — to Sen. Edmund Ross (R-Kan.), whose vote prevented then-President Andrew Johnson’s conviction after his impeachment in 1868.

“As a result, [he] lost his seat, but is remembered today,” Stephens said, adding that Romney was similarly “making that appeal to history, the sense that this is larger than this moment.”