Donald Trump injected racial overtones into the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday by comparing the Democratic-led investigation into his handling of U.S. policy toward Ukraine to a “lynching.” The highest-ranking African American in Congress warned Trump about making the comparison.
Under pressure over impeachment, blowback over his Syria policy and other issues, the Republican president tweeted Tuesday: “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!”
Lynchings, or hangings, historically were mostly used by whites against black men, mostly in the South, beginning in the late 19th century amid rising racial tensions in the U.S. By comparing his possible impeachment to a lynching, Trump is also likening Democrats to a lynch mob.
Whites used lynchings as a way to resolve anger toward blacks across the South, where people were blaming their financial problems on newly freed slaves living around them, the NAACP notes.
House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., criticized Trump’s word choices.
“That is one word no president ought to apply to himself,” Clyburn said on CNN after the president’s tweet was read to him. “That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., called on Trump to delete the tweet.
“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,” wrote Rush, who is also black.