- Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended President Donald Trump tweeting that facing an impeachment inquiry is “a lynching” on Tuesday morning.
- Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “all Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching” about the ongoing impeachment inquiry he faces.
- Graham further said he believes impeachment “is a lynching in every sense” and “un-American.”
- Graham disputed the idea that the comment was racially insensitive, saying, “No, I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason.”
- In South Carolina, a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative study found that at least 164 African-Americans were publicly lynched in the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow south between 1877 and 1950.
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Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended President Donald Trump tweeting that facing an impeachment inquiry is “a lynching” on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that he believes impeachment “is a lynching in every sense” and “un-American.”
Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “someday, 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.”
Trump’s comparison of the ongoing impeachment investigation to the systemic murdering and torture that thousands of African-Americans faced in the late 19th and early 20th century was immediately decried as highly offensive and racially insensitive.
Graham disputed the idea that the comment was racially insensitive, saying, “No, I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason.”
@LindseyGrahamSC on #lynching “African-Americans were lynched, other people have been lynched throughout History (…) that’s exactly what’s going on in the US House of Representatives right now”. pic.twitter.com/tYiHF4EnBi
— Sonia Dridi (@Sonia_Dridi) October 22, 2019
Graham’s colleague Sen. Tim Scott also of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, also told NBC that “there’s no question that the impeachment process is the closet thing to a political death row trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process. I wouldn’t use the word lynching.”
In South Carolina, a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative study found that at least 164 African-Americans were publicly lynched in the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow south between 1877 and 1950 out of a total documented 3,959 lynchings throughout the Jim Crow South.
“Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation,” the report said, adding that “many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried to deny and walk back Trump’s tweet, incorrectly telling reporters, “the president’s not comparing what’s happened to him to one of the country’s darkest moments.”
Rep. James Clyburn, a veteran South Carolina lawmaker and the House Majority Whip, reacted with shock and dismay, saying, “that is one word no president ought to apply to himself.”
Other black lawmakers and public figures also denounced the remark:
"That is one word no president ought to apply to himself. You know, I've studied presidential history quite a bit, and I don't know if we've ever seen anything quite like this."pic.twitter.com/2luIJBp7in
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) October 22, 2019
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. https://t.co/oTMhWo4awR
— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) October 22, 2019
Haven’t even had coffee yet & the occupant of the WH, the bigoted man who called for the execution of the exonerated 5, is tossing the word ‘lynching’ around. Lord give me the strength to not take the bait but hold this man accountable for every single thing he says and does.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) October 22, 2019
Comparing impeachment to a #lynching is one of the most despicable and disgusting things to come out of this president’s mouth and that’s really saying something. Anyone who tries to defend this remark is just as reprehensible.https://t.co/ye8GFBFON8
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 22, 2019
The President of the United States comparing an impeachment inquiry to a #lynching is not a “distraction.” It is a reflection of the very real trajectory of our nation and the very repugnant evil of racism, which still permeates both legislation and language in the United States.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 22, 2019
lynching isn’t some phenomenon of the distant past. graham is just 8 years removed from a lynching in his home county. and a little more than month after graham was born, Emmett Till was lynched in Money, Mississippi.
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) October 22, 2019
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