President Trump on Tuesday compared the ongoing impeachment inquiry to a “lynching,” immediately drawing blowback from one of the most senior black Democrats in Congress.
Trump wrote that Republicans should recognize that they are “witnessing” a lynching in the form of impeachment.
“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 comparison of the practice laid out in the Constitution to lynchings commonly used to carry out the murder of African Americans drew swift backlash, particularly given Trump’s history of racially charged statements.
“That is one word that no president ought to apply to himself,” he said.
“I’m a product of the South,” he added. “I know the history of that word. That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a civil rights activist who founded a chapter of the Black Panthers in the 1960s, said Trump should delete the tweet.
“You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?” the congressman tweeted. “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.”
Trump has in recent days ratcheted up his calls for Republicans to defend him against the impeachment inquiry taking place in the House, which he has complained is “illegitimate” and a witch hunt.
Democrats are pursuing allegations that Trump abused his office by pressuring a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival. They are specifically focused on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump urged Zelensky to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in Ukraine.
The president has lashed out against those leading the impeachment inquiry, particularly House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and insisted he did nothing wrong.
Republicans have complained about the lack of transparency surrounding the inquiry thus far, bemoaning that witnesses have testified in closed-door settings without full transcripts being released.
Some in the GOP have suggested that Democrats must hold a vote to set parameters for their investigation. While similar votes have been held during past impeachment proceedings, there is no legal requirement to hold one.
Trump was asked Monday if he felt it was a foregone conclusion that Democrats will impeach him and seemed to suggest he thought that might be the case.
“I think they want to,” he said. “Any Democrat wants to because they’re not gong to beat me in the election. So of course they want to impeach.”
Trump called the investigation into him “illegitimate.”
“It cannot be the way our founders, our great founders, meant this to be,” he said.
Updated at 9:12 a.m.