Oct 22, 2019

What they're saying: D.C. reacts to Trump's "lynching" tweet

Rep. James Clyburn. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Members of Congress and 2020 candidates reacted Tuesday to President Trump's tweet in which he compared the House's impeachment inquiry to "a lynching."

What they're saying: House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNN, "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."

  • Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) tweeted, "You are comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMATIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me? Every time your back is up against the wall, you throw out these racial bombs."
  • 2020 candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) tweeted, "Lynching is an act of terror used to uphold white supremacy. Try again."
  • 2020 candidate Julián Castro said in a tweet, "It’s beyond shameful to use the word 'lynching' to describe being held accountable for your actions."
  • Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said in a tweet, "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."
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told a press conference: "The president shouldn't compare a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry to such a dangerous and dark chapter in our history."
  • Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said Trump's comparison was "inappropriate." He added that it was "not appropriate in any context."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) said, "Given the history in our country I would not compare this to a lynching.”

The other side:

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended Trump's use of the word to reporters on Capitol Hill, "This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American."
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the GOP's only African American senator, said, "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."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted, "'Lynching' brings back images of a terrible time in our nation’s history, and the President never should have made that comparison."
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), after being asked by CNN's Manu Raju if Trump's tweet was appropriate, said, "The president is frustrated."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said lynching is "obviously a word with significant historical freight. The connotation the president is carrying forward is a political mob seeking an outcome regardless of facts. And that I think is an objectively true description of what is happening in the House right now."

Go deeper: Trump's premeditated racism is central to his 2020 strategy

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In an interview with Mike Allen for "Axios on HBO," Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said President Trump's tweet calling the impeachment inquiry against him a "lynching" was "a historically ignorant statement."

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