President Donald Trump sparked immediate across-the-aisle outcry on Tuesday after he called the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry “a lynching,” comparing the scandal engulfing his administration to the racist, extrajudicial killings of black people throughout American history.
Several lawmakers were outraged with the president’s word choice on Twitter as he tried to argue that the investigation came “without due process.”
“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 tweeted.
Rep. Bobby Rush was among those outraged by the invocation of lynching — an act that according to the NAACP occurred more than 4,700 times in the U.S. from 1882 to 1968.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Rush replied to Trump, 73. “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.”
Later Tuesday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley downplayed Trump’s comments, telling reporters that “the president is not comparing what’s happened to him with one of the darkest moments in American history.”
“He has used many words to describe the way he has been treated” by the media, Gidley contended.
While this was Trump’s first use of the phrase “lynching,” he previously retweeted a statement in September 2015 that referred to his treatment from journalists as a “disgusting lynching” during the 2016 election, CNN reported.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) October 22, 2019
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. https://t.co/oTMhWo4awR
In a later thread, Rush tweeted, “If the President wishes to learn about actual lynching, I would encourage him to read, support, & pass my bill, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which makes lynching a federal hate crime.”
“Unfortunately for him, there are no anti-impeachment sections,” Rush wrote.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Trump critic, also spoke out.
“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,” he tweeted.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates weighed in as well.
“We’ll never erase the pain and trauma of lynching, and to invoke that torture to whitewash your own corruption is disgraceful,” she tweeted.
According to the Washington Post, former Vice President Joe Biden also criticized Trump but soon apologized himself for describing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton as a “lynching” in the ’90s.