As debate over two articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump continued in advance of a full House vote Wednesday, rhetoric from the Republican Party became more extreme, with GOP representatives calling the process reminiscent of the trial of Jesus Christ before the Crucifixion.
The latter claim was made by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who took to the House floor to deliver a speech in which he likened the president to the holiest figure in Christianity and implied that Trump was being treated more poorly than the Son of God, whose death by crucifixion, Christians believe, wiped away the sins of the world.
"When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers," said Loudermilk, referring to the New Testament description of Christ's treatment by the fifth Roman governor of Judea. "During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process."
Rep. Barry Loudermilk: "When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process." pic.twitter.com/aBWd29Tyot— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 18, 2019
Progressives noted the over-the-top nature of the comparison.
"Yeah, when Jesus' name is evoked, I immediately think of Trump," said Utah Democratic Party activist Dr. Kathie Allen. "What an idiotic false equivalency."
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Journalist Shabtai Gold recalled Trump's letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from Tuesday in which the president compared the impeachment process to the Salem Witch Trials, the 17th century event in which 19 people were executed.
"If you thought the comparisons to Salem were perhaps misguided," said Gold, "we now have the Crucifixion itself."
Carolyn Bourdeaux, who is running against Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) in 2020, took issue with the substance of Loudermilk's comments.
"Georgia Republicans are sounding increasingly hysterical, and frankly, a little offensive," said Bourdeaux.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) compared the president's impeachment to the Pearl Harbor attacks, in which 2,403 people died.
The House is expected to vote on the articles Wednesday evening.