On Tuesday morning, President Trump referred to the current impeachment process of himself as “a lynching.” By definition, lynching is the act of “put[ting] to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval,”  however, for many, lynching brings to mind the death of those killed in racist lynchings during the 1960s. 
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
After Trump likened the impeachment proceedings against him to “a lynching” in a tweet on Tuesday, he’s received plenty of backlash from Democrats who are claiming that the usage of the word “lynching” is not just racist but also saying that it’s dangerous.
“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!” Tweeted Trump, referring to the secrecy of the impeachment hearings as of late.
The word “lynching,” by definition, means to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval or permission. However, after his tweet was published, lynching took on a new meaning in the eyes of many Democrats as they reminded everyone that thousands of people had died in racial terror lynchings in the 60s. “It was a remarkable term for the president to use to describe a legal process laid out in the Constitution,” The Times’ Eileen Sullivan reported on Tuesday of the use of the word “lynching.”
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
An Abhorrent use of the Word
Various media outlets quickly condemned Trump’s use of the word and even former Vice President Joe Biden also slammed the president for his usage of the word, “our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It’s despicable,” Biden tweeted.
Although The New York Times, Biden, and several other esteemed people in society have condemned  Trump using the word “lynching” with no regard for the racist deaths that the word brings to mind, in the past, there has been the use of that word on the tongues of the same people that are accusing him. 
Just hours after Biden called Trump’s use of the word lynching as “abhorrent,” Biden had to apologize for using the word in virtually the same context 20 years ago. “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 something that in fact met the standard — the very high bar that was set by the Founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense,” says a younger Joe Biden commenting on the Republican-led impeachment of President Bill Clinton in a CNN video clip that made its rounds around the internet on Tuesday.
By Tuesday evening, media outlets had unearthed several video clips featuring Democrats using similar language when discussing the impeachment of Clinton. “What we are doing here is not a prosecution — it’s a persecution. And indeed it’s a political lynching,” Representative Gregory Meeks said in 1998.
When shown the clip on CNN on Wednesday of him saying that in the 90s, Meeks was asked if he had been wrong to use that type of wording back then. “No! He cannot say the same things I say, because he keeps catering to the ugliest people in our society,” Meeks, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus said, adding, “The context of the word is completely different when it comes out of his mouth than when it comes out of my mine.” 
- ^“Definition of LYNCHING.” 24 Oct. 2019, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lynching. (go back↩)
- ^Purnell, Derecka. “Trump’s “Lynching” Tweet Isn’t Just Offensive. It’s Dangerous.” Slate Magazine, 24 Oct. 2019, slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/trump-lynching-tweet-victimhood-violence.html. (go back↩)
- ^“Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Lynching’.” N. Y. Times, 24 Oct. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/us/politics/trump-impeachment-lynching.html. (go back↩)
- ^Dorman, Sam. “Resurfaced New York Times op-eds show writers using ‘lynching’ while describing Clinton impeachment.” Fox News, 23 Oct. 2019, www.foxnews.com/media/ny-times-lynching-clinton. (go back↩)
- ^“After Slamming Trump, Biden Apologizes For Referring To ‘Partisan Lynching’ In 1998.” NPR.org, 23 Oct. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/10/23/772671301/after-hitting-trump-biden-apologizes-for-referring-to-partisan-lynching-in-1998. (go back↩)