Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry A 'Lynching'
Updated 3:08 p.m. ET
President Trump lashed out about the House impeachment inquiry in a tweet Tuesday morning, calling it "a lynching," a choice of words that drew sharp rebukes from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
In his post, Trump wrote, "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. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"
Trump's harsh rhetoric drew an immediate response from Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who tweeted: "You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet."
Rush led the effort by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in introducing legislation classifying actual lynching as a federal crime last year.
The chair of the black caucus, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., tweeted in a similar vein: "You are comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMATIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me?"
Trump also drew criticism from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who called on Trump to "retract this immediately."
We can all disagree on the process, and argue merits. But never should we use terms like “lynching” here. The painful scourge in our history has no comparison to politics, and @realDonaldTrump should retract this immediately. May God help us to return to a better way. https://t.co/URKNgxUfiv— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) October 22, 2019
When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked about the president's tweet, he responded, "That's not the language I would use."
He then pivoted to criticize the Democratic-led process.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called it "an unfortunate choice of words." McConnell added: "Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching."
But some Republicans defended Trump. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vigorously agreed with the President. "Yeah, this is a lynching in every sense, this is un-American" he told reporters.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley contended to reporters that Trump was not comparing "what was happening to him" with what Gidley said was one of the"darkest moments in American history."
The president's tweet illustrates the heartburn Trump's rhetoric and actions of late has caused his would-be GOP defenders. In recent days, Trump proposed holding the annual G-7 summit at a property he owns in Florida before reversing himself after bipartisan criticism, and he brought on more Republican criticism for his withdrawal of U.S. forces in northern Syria at the expense of the Kurds, a U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS.
Lynchings hold a dark place in American history. The NAACP notes that there were 4,743 people lynched in the United States from 1882 to 1968. And that is just the number of recorded lynchings.
"Most of the lynchings that took place happened in the South," the civil rights organization writes. "A big reason for this was the end of the Civil War. Once black[s] were given their freedom, many people felt that the freed blacks were getting away with too much freedom and felt they needed to be controlled."
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