South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wholeheartedly agrees with Donald Trump’s assessment that the House impeachment inquiry is the same as a lynching.
“Yeah, this is a lynching in every sense,” Graham told reporters on Tuesday. “This is un-American.”
When asked if he could understand why African Americans might be offended by the reference, Graham doubled-down on defending Trump’s words.
“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 said.
Graham was reacting to Trump’s words earlier in Tuesday where he described the House impeachment inquiry as a lynching.
“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 rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”
In reaction to Trump’s tweet, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) questioned how much Trump knows about the history of lynching in American.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Rush tweeted. “Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet.”
According to a 2005 bipartisan resolution apologizing to victims of lynchings and their families, “at least 4,742 people, predominantly African-Americans, were reported lynched in the United States” between 1882 and 1968.
Graham was a co-sponsor of the resolution. At the time, Graham seemed to recognize the grave importance of lynching in the history of the nation.
“Acknowledging the shortcomings of this body and formally offering an apology to the victims and their families helps heal wounds,” Graham said in a statement at the time. “I am hopeful that this action will move us further down the road of reconciliation.”
In South Carolina alone, there were 164 lynchings between 1877 and 1950. Lynchings were often a tool of racial terror where white mobs would hang a black person, usually from a tree. As Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) noted, lynching “is an act of terror used to uphold white supremacy.”
In 2005, Graham acknowledged lynchings primarily targeted African Americans, but he is now refusing to acknowledge the racist implications of the word.
“It’s not just racial my friends,” Graham told reporters on Tuesday. “No. I’m from South Carolina. I understand it very well. Mob rule is what lynching is all about.”
Other Republican senators, while not going as far as Graham to defend Trump’s words, nonetheless refused to condemn them.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) defended Trump by claiming the “connotation the president is carrying forward is a political mob seeking an outcome regardless of facts,” adding that such a description of the impeachment inquiry is “objectively true.”
Cruz’s fellow Texas senator, John Cornyn, refused to condemn Trump’s language, saying it was “hyperbole and some people might find it offensive.”
What Graham and Cruz are referring to as “lynching” is the act of House committees interviewing administration officials in an attempt to learn more about Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and if Trump abused his power of the office when he asked Ukraine to investigate the Democratic National Committee and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Published with permission of The American Independent.