President Donald Trump took his hysterical response to House Democrats' impeachment inquiry to a new level Tuesday morning by calling the congressional proceedings "a lynching," a term that evokes the long history of racist violence against black people in the United States.
"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!"
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
The president's tweet equating the constitutional process of impeachment to extrajudicial killings sparked outrage from lawmakers and commentators familiar with the horrific history of lynching.
A lynching?! 4,743 people were lynched in the US between 1882 - 1968, incl. 3,446 African Americans. Lynchings were crimes against humanity and an ugly part of our nation’s history of racial violence and brutality
Sickened to see Trump’s gross misappropriation of this term today pic.twitter.com/L8Oi9m8xRk
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) October 22, 2019
"You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?" tweeted Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). "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."
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called Trump's tweet "a disgusting and ignorant message from a man who has shown no respect for history."
"How dare you?! Since the founding of our nation, African Americans have been lynched and killed just for being black," Lee said.
How dare you?! Since the founding of our nation, African Americans have been lynched and killed just for being black.
This is a disgusting and ignorant message from a man who has shown no respect for history. We will not stand for it. pic.twitter.com/2d1Jin5gHP
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) October 22, 2019
The Atlantic's Adam Serwer wrote in response to the president's tweet that "Trump has inspired multiple acts of racist violence and his referring to impeachment as a 'lynching' is risible."
"But worse," Serwer said, "will be his toadies adopting this inversion of past and present, with the nation's most powerful racist as a *victim* of racist violence, as a talking point."