Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday backed President Donald Trump’s reference to the House impeachment process as “lynching,” amid the inquiry led by House Democrats to remove the president from office.
The impeachment inquiry began with Democrats pursuing allegations from an unnamed whistleblower saying that Trump had supposedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July 25 phone call to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Trump denounced the accusations and insisted that he did nothing wrong, and Zelensky also said that “there was no blackmail,” explaining that the purpose of the conversation was to simply arrange a meeting with Trump with no “conditions” from the American side, according to BBC News.
“All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “But we will WIN!”
The president’s comparison of the “sham” impeachment process to lynching saw brutal backlash from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) as well as on Twitter, but Graham stood by backing Trump and justified his decision.
“It shows a lot of things about our national media when it’s about Trump who cares about the process,” Graham said, referencing the biased nature of the impeachment inquiry, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned from voting as it could potentially hand rights to the GOP. “As long as you get him – yeah, this is a lynching in every sense.”
“This is un-American,” Graham told reporters. “I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody is accused of major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on their behalf, and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge. If this continues in the House it is a complete sham and I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t live very long in the Senate.”
“It is necessary to empower the Republican minority in the House to confront accusations against the President,” Graham explained. “A vote of inquiry allows the President to confront his accuser and to call witnesses on his behalf. Until that is done, this is a joke, this is a sham and this is a political lynching.”
“What does lynching mean?” Graham asked and immediately explained. “When a mob grabs you, they don’t give you a change to defend yourself. They don’t tell you what happened to you. They just destroy you. That’s exactly what is going on in the U.S. House of Representatives right now.”
Several lawmakers weighed in to explain that the president’s use of the term lynching is indeed justified.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) admitted that the term lynching has “significant historical fright” but then went on to explain that “the connotation the president is carrying forward is a political mob seeking an outcome regardless of facts.”
“And that I think is an objectively true description of what is happening in the House right now,” Cruz said.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a fellow Republican senator to Graham and one of the two black GOP members of Congress, was also sympathetic of Trump’s description of the unfair impeachment process.
“There’s no question that the impeachment process is the closest thing to a political death trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process,” Scott said, though he stopped short of using the exact same word as Trump.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley noted that Trump has used a range of words and “all types of language” to “talk about the way the media has treated him, and explained that Trump “wasn’t trying to compare himself to the horrific history in this country at all.”