US President Donald Trump has likened the impeachment proceedings he faces to a “lynching”, saying the efforts to chuck him out of the White House are comparable to the racially motivated and extrajudicial killings of African Americans.
Trump, who has been accused of effectively blackmailing a foreign nation to meddle in American politics, says the Democratic Party’s current efforts are “without due process or fairness or any legal rights.”
That’s not true – the Democrats have waited an insanely long time to pull the impeachment trigger, and are doing everything they can to get Trump by the book – but it’s not even the important bit here.
“All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” Trump said.
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 response was swift. Speaking before congress Democrat Rep Al Green said “does he not know the history of lynching in the country? Does he not know thousands of African Americans were lynched? Mob violence?
“Does he not know this is the equivalent of murder?”
Rep. Al Green: “How dare the president compare lynching to impeachment. How dare he do this! Does he not know the history of lynching in this country? Does he not know that thousands of African Americans were lynched?” pic.twitter.com/Ptdbp57OtP
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 22, 2019
Democratic primary contender Beto O’Rourke said Trump’s statement was an attempt to “normalise” that kind of rhetoric around a constitutionally-protected political process.
It was “one of the most obscene things that I’ve heard him say in an administration that is rife with obscenities,” O’Rourke said, capping off his statement with the view Trump is a white supremacist.
Beto O’Rourke says Pres. Trump, “a white man who has enjoyed privilege and power unknown to so many millions,” comparing impeachment to lynching, “is one of the most obscene things that I’ve heard him say in an administration that is rife with obscenities” https://t.co/FzjYLFIQ5G pic.twitter.com/xwLHGsMuIb
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 22, 2019
Republicans have also spoken out – although in much more mooted tones.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump’s phrasing was “an unfortunate choice of words,” but backed Trump’s overarching argument.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell on President Trump’s comparison of the impeachment effort against him to “a lynching”:
“Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching. That was an unfortunate choice of words.” pic.twitter.com/npASMlgiwC
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 22, 2019
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did the same, saying it was “not the language I would use.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 22, 2019
Trump’s statement comes just days after a Mississippi community was forced to install a bulletproof sign memorialising lynching victim Emmett Till, after previous signs were literally shot at.
It also comes after a long stretch of very, very questionable positions from Trump, including, but not limited to:
- Repeatedly attempting to stem migration from majority-Muslim nations and allegedly proposed to fill a moat on the US-Mexico border with live snakes;
- Referring to Haiti and nations across Africa as “shithole countries”;
- Allegedly using racial slurs against former contestants on The Apprentice,
- Churning out extremely racist campaign ads;
- Hailing people on “both sides” of the 2017 far-right Charlottesville rally, which saw a white supremacist murder a counter-protestor;
- And praising Australia’s own asylum seeker policies.
Expect Trump, who holds one of the most powerful individual roles in the world, to somehow make himself the victim regarding the backlash to his comment.