You’ve probably heard the word “lynching” a bunch of times today. It started this morning when President Trump used the word in a tweet about impeachment:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
That set off a flurry of condemnations from the left and even Sen. Mitch McConnell called the remark unfortunate:
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching. That was an unfortunate choice of words. It is an unfair process, and a better way to characterize it would be to call it an unfair process." pic.twitter.com/BurfcNSIhl
— The Hill (@thehill) October 22, 2019
One of the people who was quick to attack Trump was former Vice President Biden who called the comparison “despicable.”
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. https://t.co/QcC25vhNeb
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 22, 2019
Biden (or whoever is running his Twitter account) should have checked the record. This afternoon, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski dug up this old appearance in which Biden tells Wolf Blitzer, “Even if the president should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was, in fact, something that met the standard, the very high bar that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense.”
While Biden has called Trump’s lynching comments “abhorrent” and “despicable,” in 1998 appearance on CNN, Biden said impeachment could end up being viewed as a “partisan lynching.” https://t.co/4jGo8hSQSZhttps://t.co/6p210g7M6l pic.twitter.com/UkJiXLsHOG
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) October 22, 2019
Awkward! But Biden is far from the only Democrat who made that comparison 20 years ago. Tom Elliott put together this supercut to highlight several more examples.
SUPERCUT: Democrats are super consistent on the topic of using the word “lynching” in reference to an impeachment pic.twitter.com/qT0QHAUwpf
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 23, 2019
One of the people in that clip above is Rep. Gregory Meeks. Back then, Meeks said, “What we are doing here is not a prosecution, it is a persecution and, indeed, it is a political lynching.” This afternoon Meeks appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show where he was asked about having used the term in connection to impeachment in the past. You can see Rep. Meeks’ full response below.
“Donald Trump does not have the liberty to say and use that word,” says Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks of Pres. Trump’s use of the word “lynching” to describe the Democratic impeachment process. https://t.co/V1479vyQrD pic.twitter.com/Sc9ae2kDfe
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) October 23, 2019
In short: Only black Democrats can weaponize this particular term in a political context. But even if you buy Meeks’ claim that it’s okay for him to talk about impeachment as lynching because of his family history, what about Joe Biden and Jim McDermott. I guess this is just another case where it’s different when Democrats do it.