Biden Apologizes for Calling Clinton Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Lynching’

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
October 23, 2019 Updated: October 23, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden apologized for calling the impeachment inquiry into then-President Bill Clinton a “partisan lynching” after condemning President Donald Trump for calling the current inquiry a “lynching.”

Biden is among the top former and current lawmakers and media figures that used the word to describe past situations but still denounced Trump’s use of the word.

“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,” Biden wrote late Oct. 22 after an article noted he used the word in 1998 to describe the impeachment of Clinton.

Biden was a senator at the time.

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), two other 2020 candidates, were among others who said Trump was wrong to use the word but have used the word in the past.

Both described the alleged assault of actor Jussie Smollett last year as an attempted “lynching.” Evidence suggested the assault was a hoax but prosecutors dropped the case, saying Smollett hadn’t hurt anybody.

“Lynching is a reprehensible stain on this nation’s history, as is this president. We’ll never erase the pain and trauma of lynching, and to invoke that torture to whitewash your own corruption is disgraceful,” Harris wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

“Lynching is an act of terror used to uphold white supremacy. Try again,” Booker wrote in response to Trump’s use of the word.

Sophia Nelson, an opinion writer, was among those in the media decrying Trump’s use of the word.

“Dear Pres. @realdonaldtrump this is a #Lynching you have not been lynched,” she wrote on Twitter, sharing a picture of a black person being lynched.

Nelson, though, wrote a piece in 2015 about the probe of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The high tech lynching of Hillary Clinton,” she wrote.

Nelson defended herself against critics on Tuesday, writing: “A ‘high tech lynching’ is one that takes place on TV where the person in question is being attacked|impuned by virtue of their race, gender. Trump’s a rich, privileged, criminal, white man. He cannot be the victim of a #lynching.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.