In an early morning tweet storm on October 22, President Donald Trump fired off an angry missive dismissing the impeachment inquiry against him as a “lynching.” Trump sent the tweet hours before U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor was set to testify in a deposition before the House Intelligence Committee, whose testimony will help determine whether Trump tried to strong-arm the president of Ukraine into giving him dirt on Hunter Biden, political rival Joe Biden‘s son.
Given that Taylor has sent texts to other diplomats chastising Trump for withholding foreign aid from Ukraine in exchange for oppo research, Trump was likely nervous about what Taylor told the committee behind closed doors.
But his use of “lynching”—applied to the ugly history of the targeted extrajudicial murder of black people by mobs of white people, often by public hanging and mainly in the Jim Crow South—is indefensible. This is especially true given his own history of racism, including the time he called for the execution of The Central Park 5 after they were wrongly accused of rape in the late ’80s. However, the fact that the remark is indefensible won’t stop his assorted lackeys, underlings, and sycophants from twisting themselves into origami trying to defend Trump’s tweet.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proved willing to debase himself when he cosigned the president’s remarks in a press gaggle.
“This is a lynching in every sense,” Graham told reporters. “This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accusers, call witnesses on their behalf, and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”
Shame on you, Lindsey Graham! Absolutely appalling.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) October 22, 2019
Right, so the impeachment inquiry is like a lynching in “every sense” except like an actual, literal lynching. Super.
When asked if Trump’s callous use of the term is racially insensitive, Graham responded: “No, I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason.” Graham never took into account that as an old white Republican from South Carolina, maybe he’s not the best arbiter for what is and isn’t racist.
Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley, a white Republican Southerner from Arkansas, told reporters that Trump was “not comparing what’s happened to him to one of the country’s darkest moments” despite the fact that it’s exactly what the president did. Gidley became more slippery from there, repeatedly dodging questions as to whether he even understands why the comparison is offensive in the first place.
Hogan Trying to defend the use of the word “lynching” pic.twitter.com/KnYuJLTDca
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) October 22, 2019
Ardent Trump attack dog Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) took the scenic route when discussing whether the president’s use of the term was “appropriate”: He basically threw every 2016-era conspiracy theory against the wall to see which one would stick.
Rep. Jim Jordan: "The President's frustrated. I mean, if you had to go through the three years at this that this President had to live through, I think I think it just is an example of the frustration the President feels." pic.twitter.com/RHYcCXKxIU
— The Hill (@thehill) October 22, 2019
“The president’s frustrated. If you had to go through the three years that this president had to live through, I think, that’s just an example of the frustration the president feels,” Jordan said. “Remember, this all started even before he got elected. This started on July 31st 2016 when Jim Comey opened the investigation, and put the country through three years of this false accusation that somehow the president worked with Russia to impact the election. So going through that and now this ridiculous charade the Democrats are putting him through, you can understand why the president is frustrated.”
Very helpful, Jim. Thank you.