Several House Democrats have been outed for using the term “lynching” to describe former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment after President Trump was blasted for doing the same.
On Tuesday, members of both political parties condemned Trump for calling the impeachment proceedings against him “a lynching.”
Among those criticizing Trump were Illinois Rep. Danny K. Davis and New York Rep. Gregory Meeks. Both took to Twitter to question the president’s use of the term.
“The highest officeholder should think about these words. The rural south where I was born has a tarnished and painful history,” Davis said in a tweet that now appears to have been deleted.
Meeks also took to Twitter to criticize Trump’s “insulting” remarks.
I don’t expect Trump to be sensitive to the weight of that word, or see how insulting and hurtful it is to invoke it here.— Rep. Gregory Meeks (@RepGregoryMeeks) October 22, 2019
I do expect Republicans to not even dare defend this language.
I do expect this administration to comply with our constitutional right to issue subpoenas. https://t.co/4fus9kScSW
Both men, however, used lynchings to describe Clinton’s impeachment in the 1990s. Davis called the impeachment process a “lynching in the people’s House,” while Meeks described it as a “political lynching.”
Democrat Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois) on the impeachment of Bill Clinton: "I will not vote for this nightmare before Christmas. I will not vote for this lynching in the people's House. I will vote against these resolutions." pic.twitter.com/TgmAwXCQHu— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 22, 2019
New York Rep. Jerry Nadler also compared Clinton’s impeachment to a lynching, saying on three occasions that Republicans were acting like a “lynch mob.” His fellow New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel also accused Republicans of having a “lynch mob mentality.” Retired Washington Rep. Jim McDermott compared Clinton’s treatment to a “political lynch mob,” adding, “Find the rope, find the tree, and ask a bunch of questions later.”
Meeks addressed the apparent hypocrisy in an interview with the Washington Post, saying, “Yes, I said those words, but context matters. There is a difference when that word is used by someone of my experience and perspective, whose relatives were the targets of lynch mobs, compared to a president who has dog-whistled to white nationalists and peddled racism.”
He claimed he was more “at liberty to invoke” such an image than Trump.
In addition to these House Democrats, 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, 76, also used the phrase “lynching” to describe Clinton’s impeachment.
“History is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching,” said then-Senator Biden.
While Biden has called Trump’s lynching comments “abhorrent” and “despicable,” in 1998 appearance on CNN, Biden said impeachment could end up being viewed as a “partisan lynching.” https://t.co/4jGo8hSQSZhttps://t.co/6p210g7M6l pic.twitter.com/UkJiXLsHOG— andrew kaczynski???? (@KFILE) October 22, 2019
Biden has since apologized for using the phrase. He noted that it “wasn’t the right word to use” but claimed his use was different than Trump's because the president used the word “deliberately.”
This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that. Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily. https://t.co/mHfFC8HluZ— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 23, 2019
Several Republicans criticized Trump’s language, but South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended the president, saying, “This is a lynching in every sense.”