Trump invokes ‘lynching’ as he battles impending impeachment

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said in a tweet: ‘You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?’

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President Donald Trump meets with his Cabinet at the White House Oct. 21.

A tweet by President Donald Trump comparing impeachment to a “lynching” was quickly condemned by many.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who will soon be impeached by House Democrats — seems only a matter of time — touched off another uproar over his use of racially inflammatory language on Tuesday when he accused Democrats of orchestrating a “lynching” against him.

“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 on Tuesday morning. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said in a reply 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.”

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As the folks who run the Twitter feed for Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher, put it, “Lynch’ is our top search today. Even in a metaphorical context, it still evokes a long and painful history of racist violence.”

A lynching is what happened to Emmett Till in 1955 when the 14-year-old black youth from Chicago’s South Side visiting Mississippi was kidnapped and murdered by white men.

The House Democrats are conducting an impeachment inquiry.

It will likely lead to the House, voting along party lines, impeaching him. Trump will become the third president in the history of the United States to face a Senate impeachment trial.

Trump on Monday complained to reporters about “this phony Emoluments Clause” as he ruminated about caving to pressure to cancel his self-serving plan to host the Group of Seven — nicknamed the G7 — summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami. If Trump had not dropped Doral, it would have made it harder for Republicans to defend him as the House marches towards impeachment.

There  are several “emoluments” clauses in the Constitution. One states “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The Constitution provides in Article 1 that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

Those sentences are not fake.

That’s a description of the process that produced an impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 — he was acquitted following a Senate trial in 1999 — and Andrew Johnson, who was impeached and acquitted in 1868.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of the few Republicans willing to criticize Trump — but not backing an impeachment inquiry — said in a tweet, “We can all disagree on the process, and argue merits. But never should we use terms like “lynching” here. The painful scourge in our history has no comparison to politics, and @realDonaldTrump should retract this immediately. May God help us to return to a better way.”

Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., born in Arkansas, said in his tweet, “The highest office holder should think about these words. The rural south where I was born has a tarnished and painful history ... there is no comparison.”

Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., said in a statement, “Lynchings are a dark and painful stain on our nation’s history. Sadly, I’m not surprised to see President Trump resorting to racist, illogical and divisive rhetoric; he always says something ignorant and outrageous when he’s backed into a corner; it’s his defense mechanism.

“We cannot become distracted by his words! He said these things so people would forget that he sold out our national security for political gain.”

As Rush said in another tweet, “If the President wishes to learn about actual lynching, I would encourage him to read, support, & pass my bill, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which makes lynching a federal hate crime. Unfortunately for him, there are no anti-impeachment sections.“

Said White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on Fox News: “The President wasn’t trying to compare himself to the horrific history in this country at all. What he was trying to point out, clearly, was that he has been attacked relentlessly by the mainstream media without cause, without evidence, since the day he took over in this office.”

None of these clauses in the Constitution that spurred Trump to call the impeachment inquiry a “lynching” are fake. They are not phony. And if Trump or conspiracy-mongers worry someone did a clandestine rewrite of the Constitution, they can visit the National Archives, a stroll from the White House, see an original and check it out for themselves.

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