President Donald Trump addresses a joint news conference with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 2, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday called the House of Representatives’s ongoing impeachment probe into his conduct “a lynching.”
Trump’s tweet instantly sparked criticism for his use of a term, lynching, which historically refers to the extrajudicial, racially motivated killings of thousands of black Americans after the Civil War and into the 1960s.
Rep. Bobby Rush, a black Democrat from Chicago, blasted Trump 10 minutes after his tweet first was posted, asking the president, “What the hell is wrong with you,” and telling Trump to “delete this tweet.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, called Trump’s tweet “shocking.”
“He is someone who doesn’t understand history,” Escobar said. “An incredible disrespect to the country. It was awful. It was awful.”
But Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, reportedly said Tuesday that Trump was correct.
“This is a lynching in every sense,” Graham said, according to a reporter from The Hill.com.
He was echoed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that lynching is “obviously a word with significant historical freight,” according to a reporter from Politico.
“The connotation the president is carrying forward is a political mob seeking an outcome regardless of facts,” Cruz reportedly said. “And that I think is an objectively true description of what is happening in the House right now”
However, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who like Trump is a Republican, also called out the president for using the term lynching.
“We can all disagree on the process, and argue merits. But never should we use terms like ‘lynching’ here,” Kinzinger wrote on Twitter.
“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,” Kinzinger said.
From 1882 through 1968, according to the NAACP, there were at least 4,743 lynchings in the United States. Of those people killed, 3,446 — or nearly 73 percent — were black.
On Tuesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was set to hear arguments about whether federal judges can order the unsealing of normally secret records from grand juries in old cases that have historical significance. The case before the appeals court relates to the mob lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia in 1946.
On Monday, the fourth sign memoralizing the kidnapping, torture and lynching of 14-year Emmett Till in Mississippi was dedicated next to the river where his body was found in 1955.
The prior three signs had repeatedly been vandalized.