The ‘lynching’ hypocrisy
President Donald Trump ignited yet another controversy when, on Twitter, he compared the Democrats’ pursuit of his impeachment to a “lynching.”
His tweet that launched a thousand denunciations read: “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. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”
Immediately, Trump derangement syndrome kicked in. The critics cried: How dare Trump –a white man — trivialize America’s history of blacks lynched by white racists?
NPR’s Tamara Keith promptly fired off this tweet: “This is new rhetoric from President Trump. From ‘witch hunt’ to ‘coup’ to ‘lynching,’ Trump keeps escalating his language. (Clarence Thomas called his confirmation process a “high tech lynching” but there is a big difference between Trump and Thomas).”
Presumably, Thomas, a black man, could acceptably refer to his confirmation hearing, in which he was accused of sexual harassment, as a “lynching,” but, Trump, a white man, cannot.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted: “Impeachment is not ‘lynching,’ it is part of our Constitution. Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It’s despicable.”
Speaking at a historically black college, according to Axios, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said: “What do we have in Donald Trump? Someone who dares — dares — to use the word ‘lynching’ with the blood that has been poured on the soil of South Carolina and so many (places). And dares to talk about his victimization and compare it to those who have suffered in a criminal justice system in America that has too often been informed by racial bias and by injustice. And he dares to compare himself to the people who have been at the wrong end of a system that is in need of reform.”
Harris tweeted: “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.”
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., a black congressman, tweeted: “You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you.”
The left-wing website Slate published an article with the headline “Trump’s ‘Lynching’ Tweet Isn’t Just Offensive. It’s Dangerous.” Slate wrote: “The word lynching conjures the imagery of the 4,000 killed in racial terror lynchings by the 1960s, what Billie Holiday sang as “Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze.” By definition, to be lynched is to be punished or killed (often by a group) without due process or a trial. The president’s claim is facially absurd because he is not being punished without process.”
Here’s the problem: Where were the voices of indignation during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton when his defenders used the very same word? Let’s go to the 1998 videotape: White male Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., described those pursuing Clinton’s impeachment as a “political lynch mob.” McDermott said, “Find the rope, find the tree and ask a bunch of questions later.”
White male Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said to Clinton, “The lynch mob, though, Mr. President, now has a new leader.”
White male Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “It’s a verbal political lynching on the floor of the Senate.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., on the House floor, said: “What we are doing here is not a prosecution, it’s a persecution and indeed it is a political lynching.”
Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., on the House floor, said: “I will not vote for this nightmare before Christmas. I will not vote for this lynching in the people’s House. I will vote against these resolutions.”
Biden, another white male, in 1998 told CNN that history will judge Clinton’s impeachment as a “partisan lynching.” When asked about the apparent hypocrisy of slamming Trump for using the same lynching rhetoric he once used, Biden apologized for using the word “lynching” in the case of Clinton. But Biden argued that when Trump used the word, he did so as a “dog whistle,” meaning Trump did it to fuel his supposedly racist political base.
Biden said: “I apologize for it then, and I apologize for it now. The fact of the matter is it shouldn’t be used at all, but the encouragement of white supremacists, which (Donald Trump has) done his entire presidency, that’s what I was responding to. Because that’s what it was. It was like a dog whistle … he’s done it throughout — from Charlottesville on.” Note that Biden, once again, mischaracterized what Trump said about Charlottesville.
So, when President Trump gets reelected, get ready for four more years of Democrats’ double standards and selective outrage.
Larry Elder is a Creators Syndicate columnist.