Trump Compares Impeachment Inquiry to ‘Lynching’ in Swiftly Rebuked Tweet

President Donald Trump compared the House impeachment inquiry to a “lynching,” a term most associated with the mob hanging of Black men in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in a tweet Tuesday morning, drawing backlash from both sides of the aisle but also getting support from Republican lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

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Many Republicans stayed quiet or had muted responses to Trump’s tweet, but top ally Graham, who has a notably complicated relationship with the president, doubled down on Trump’s statement.

“This is a lynching in every sense,” Graham told reporters Tuesday. “This is un-American.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while speaking to reporters, called it an “unfortunate choice of words.”

“Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching,” he said.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was among the many Democrats to condemn Trump for his use of the word.

“You are comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me?” Bass tweeted in response to Trump.

According to the NAACP, 4,743 recorded lynchings happened in the United States between 1882 and 1968. Of those killed by lynching, nearly 73% were Black. Just over 27% were white, and many were lynched for helping Black people or expressing anti-lynching views.

Bass later said on CNN that a “racial bomb” like the term lynching is consistent with Trump’s behavior and described his use of race as throwing “red meat” to his base.

“The comparison of our constitutional mandate to a vicious hate crime shows not only a complete lack of appreciation for United States history, but also an absolute absence of understanding of the Constitution,” Bass later tweeted.

Trump has previously described the impeachment inquiry, officially launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sept. 24, as a “witch hunt” and “coup,” but he has a history of racial insensitivity.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) compared Trump’s most recent comment to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured. At the time, Trump infamously said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

“Mr. President, HOW DARE YOU compare impeachment to lynching (the mob murdering and racist terrorizing of Black people)?” Green tweeted. “Your continuing to weaponize hate make you no better than the bigots who screamed ‘blood and soil’ in Charlottesville. #ImpeachNow”

Green, one of the first Democratic lawmakers to call for Trump’s impeachment in 2017, later addressed Trump’s tweet on the House floor.

“If you continue to weaponize racism and bigotry, this makes you no better than those who were screaming ‘blood and soil,’ ‘Jews will not replace us,’” Green said. “It makes you no better than them. It makes you no better than those who burn crosses. It makes you no better than those who wear hoods and white robes. Do you not understand what you’re doing to this country? And more importantly, do we, the members of this Congress, not understand how he is denigrating and berating decency in this country. At some point, we must say, enough is enough.”

Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh, who is running against Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, was one of few GOP members to come down harshly on Trump.

“He’s a bigot,” Walsh tweeted. “He’s a liar. He’s a malignant narcissist. He’s a traitor. He’s a moron. He’s a cruel despot. And yes, he is unfit. And I apologize for voting for him in 2016. I apologize for the role I played in helping put this horrible human being in the White House.”

In a later tweet, Walsh said Trump’s opponents should “stay focused on [his] impeachable conduct,” in light of his latest “bigoted” act.

Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, who is at the center of the impeachment probe after Trump requested that the Ukranian government investigate what he did there while his son Hunter was on the board of a Ukraine-based energy company, also condemned Trump on Twitter.

“Impeachment is not ‘lynching,’ it is part of our Constitution,” he tweeted. “Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It’s despicable.”

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