Graham Backs Trump Over Use of Word ‘Lynching’ to Describe Impeachment Inquiry

October 22, 2019 Updated: October 22, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that President Donald Trump’s use of the word lynching to describe the impeachment inquiry against him was accurate.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, lynching “is the mob killing of a person suspected of a crime, especially by hanging, that is done outside of the law.”

“In every sense, this is a mob taking over the rule of the law,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 22.

“This is fundamentally un-American. And until it changes, I will fight back as hard as I can. What would make it change? A vote of inquiry is necessary to empower the Republican minority in the House to confront accusations against the president. A vote of inquiry allows the president to confront his accuser and to call witnesses on his behalf. Until that it is done, this is a joke, this is a sham, and this is a political lynching,” he continued.

“When it’s about Trump, who cares about the process, as long as you get him. So, yes, this is a lynching in every sense, 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 accuser, call witnesses on their behalf, and have the discussion in the light of the day so the public can judge.”

“If this continues in the House it’s a complete sham and I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t live very long in the Senate,” Graham added.

Trump wrote on Twitter earlier Tuesday: “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 right. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said he agreed with the point Trump was trying to make but didn’t like the use of the word lynching.

“There’s no question that the impeachment process is the closest thing [to] a political death row trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t use the word lynching.”

Other lawmakers focused on how they didn’t agree with Trump’s use of the word.

“I think it is racially charged and insensitive,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters in Washington. “You know, the talk about lynchings in this circumstance—this president is being subjected to the Constitution and the laws of the land. That’s a far cry from a lynching.”

Some Republicans also criticized the use of the word, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

“That’s not appropriate in any context,” Thune told reporters. “It’s just inappropriate.”

Hogan Gidley, White House principal deputy press secretary, told reporters outside the White House about the tweet: “The president’s not comparing what’s happened to him with one of our darkest moments in American history. He’s just not. What he’s explaining clearly is the way he’s been treated by the media since he announced for president. The word impeachment was used about this president the day he was elected and before he was even sworn into office. Let’s not talk about that.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
RECOMMENDED