The Latest: McConnell calls Trump lynching tweet unfortunate

Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s comparison of impeachment to lynching (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling President Donald Trump’s use of the word “lynching” to describe the House impeachment investigation “unfortunate.”

In a Tweet Tuesday, Trump had compared the House impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine to “a lynching,” essentially likening the horrors of a deadly and racist chapter in U.S. history to a process laid out in the Constitution. The president added: “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.”

His words have brought bipartisan condemnation. McConnell, speaking to reporters, said “that was an unfortunate choice of words.”

McConnell added: “Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching.”

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12:30 p.m.

The Congressional Black Caucus is condemning President Donald Trump’s comparison of impeachment to lynching.

Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, the group’s chairwoman, called lynching “a horrific stain on our country’s history” and said Trump’s tweet Tuesday inaccurately compared a constitutional process of investigation to “the systematic brutal torture and murder of thousands of African Americans in this country. It’s unacceptable.”

Bass said Trump’s comment was part of a pattern for him at moments of political peril: “He throws out the red meat of racial rhetoric and attacks communities of color, but the American people aren’t taking the bait.”

She urged Trump to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., also known as the “Lynching Museum,” to learn more about the history of lynching.

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11:10 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he agrees with President Donald Trump that the Democrats’ impeachment drive is like a “lynching.”

The South Carolina Republican senator told reporters Tuesday that Trump’s description is “pretty well accurate,” adding that the effort is a “sham” and a “joke” because the president doesn’t know the identity of his accuser and the process is playing out in private.

Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that, “This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American.”

Trump’s comparison of impeachment to a lynching in a tweet Tuesday injected racial overtones into the investigation of his conduct toward Ukraine. House impeachment investigators have been hearing from witnesses behind closed doors.

Lynchings, or hangings, historically were mostly carried out by whites against black men beginning in the late 19th century.

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8:29 a.m.

President Donald Trump is comparing the House impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine to “a lynching.”

Trump and his Republican allies complain that the process House Democrats are using for the inquiry is unfair and that Democrats are trying to undo the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.

Trump tweets Tuesday that if a Democrat becomes president and the GOP wins the House they can impeach the president “without due process or fairness or any legal rights.”

The president adds: “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.”

Lynchings, or killing someone by hanging, historically were mostly used by whites against black men in the South beginning in the late 19th century, according to the NAACP.

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