February 16, 2021
Michael van der Veen, the Center City attorney who represented former President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial, caught people off guard when he mispronounced Philadelphia as "Philly-delphia" during a speech on the Senate floor.
But van der Veen explained that his odd way of saying the city's name is intentional.
"Philly-delphia is something I say often, it's actually a point of oration," van der Veen told CBS3. "Often I will pronounce something differently to make an effective point. Folks in my office or my kids will tell you I always talk about Philly-delphia."
Fellow Philadelphia attorney Bill Brennan, also on Trump's impeachment defense team, threw a dig at van der Veen's Connecticut roots as the reasoning behind his "Philly-delphia" pronunciation.
"It's because he's from New England and I'm from Kensington, and I say Philadelphia," Brennan said to CBS3.
Van der Veen said "Philly-delphia" during the debate on Saturday over whether the impeachment trial would allow witnesses to testify.
His pronunciation, as well as his demand that any witness depositions take place at his Center City office, drew laughs from senators. He was left confused as to why lawmakers were chuckling at him.
"That's the way it works, folks ... I don't know why you're laughing ... there's nothing laughable here" -- the Senate chamber breaks out in laughter after van der Veen threatens to depose Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris not by Zoom, but in his office in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/T0xiozHckE— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 13, 2021
Van der Veen set social media on fire. Among those who tweeted about it was "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" star Rob McElhenney.
This season of television will be the easiest to write in the history of television. #phillydelphia— Wrob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) February 13, 2021
If anyone is looking for a deposition venue in Phillydelphia pic.twitter.com/zg3Wc3C0k3— mindy (@OhLikeMorkAnd) February 13, 2021
How lawyers work in Phillydelphia pic.twitter.com/RoRwdyeqYt— So Sayeth Black Lord: (@jmood88) February 13, 2021
"Saturday Night Live" also poked fun at van der Veen's Senate floor speech, with comedian Pete Davidson impersonating the attorney during the show's cold open last weekend.
Despite being made fun of on social media, van der Veen was victorious as Trump was acquitted by the Senate. Van der Veen took credit for what he called a "dead bang winner argument."
Van der Veen has been the target of more than just jokes since he joined the former president's legal team. He has received death threats and now has security detail at his Center City office. Also, van der Veen's West Whiteland, Chester County, home was vandalized with graffiti last Friday night. The word "Traitor" was painted in red at the front of the driveway.
The Senate voted 57-43 to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S Capitol, but the votes were short of the two-thirds majority needed to hold him responsible. All 50 senate Democrats and seven Republicans, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, voted for conviction. At least 10 more votes in favor would have been needed.