President Donald Trump used a racially charged term Tuesday to describe House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, calling the process a “lynching.”
“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!” the President tweeted.
Trump has repeatedly railed against the probe, calling it a “witch hunt” and a “fraud,” but Tuesday marks his first use of the term “lynching,” which is associated with a period of horrific racial violence in the United States, in regard to the inquiry. Following Emancipation and the Civil War, killings, often carried out in public settings, known as lynchings, terrorized newly freed black Americans. Thousands of citizens were killed this way.
Trump’s use of the term is also notable as he has frequently stoked racial tensions while in office, from referring to undocumented immigrants as an “infestation” to sharply criticizing African-American athletes who protest during the National Anthem.
Impeachment is a political process and the President, through the White House counsel, has opted not to cooperate and to instead block congressional requests.
Trump’s statement on Tuesday drew a swift rebuke from Democratic Rep. James Clyburn.
“I really believe this man is prone to inflammatory statements and that is one word no president ought to apply to himself. I’ve studied presidential history quite a bit and I don’t know if we’ve ever seen anything quite like this,” the South Carolina congressman said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“I am not just a politician up here. I’m a southern politician, I’m a product of the South. I know the history of that word, that is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using,” he said.
Trump previously retweeted a statement during the 2016 election referring to his treatment by journalists as a “disgusting lynching” in September 2015.