U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday sparked a wave of outrage by calling House of Representatives Democrats’ impeachment inquiry a “lynching.”
“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 said on Twitter. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”
Shortly after the tweet, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest ranking Black in Congress, told CNN he believes the word is one no U.S. president should apply to himself.
“That is one word no president ought to imply on himself. I’ve studied presidential history quite a bit, and I don’t know if we’ve ever seen anything quite like this,” said Clyburn.
He added that Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton nor Richard Nixon, three former presidents who faced impeachment proceedings, never likened their situations to lynchings.
The state of Illinois congressman Bobby Rush, who co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, told Trump to delete his tweet.
“You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?” Rush said. “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.”
Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, strongly slammed the U.S. president for his use of the term.
“You are comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMATIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me?” the Democrat from the state of California said on Twitter.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is among Democrat hopefuls for the 2020 presidential race called Trump’s comment “despicable”.
“Impeachment is not “lynching,” it is part of our Constitution,” said Biden on Twitter. “Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It’s despicable.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley was quick to defend Trump’s morning tweet, saying Trump “was not trying to compare himself to the horrific history” in the U.S.
Trump was trying to point out the relentless attack on him “by the mainstream media without cause, without evidence since the day he took over in this office,” Gidley told America’s Newsroom.
House lawmakers launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump on Sept. 24 following claims by a whistle-blower that the president had sought to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
In a July 25 phone call, Trump allegedly made military aid contingent on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launching a probe into Joe Biden, a former U.S. vice president, and his son, Hunter, a businessman, over unsubstantiated corruption allegations.
The elder Biden is a leading candidate in the race to win the Democratic nomination and challenge Trump in 2020. Trump, a Republican, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and accused Democrats of time-wasting.
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