U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts’s 7th District on Tuesday called President Donald Trump bigoted and expressed hope that he would one day be held accountable “for every single thing he says and does,” including a Tuesday morning tweet in which he compared the impeachment inquiry to “a lynching.”
“Haven’t even had coffee yet and the occupant of the (White House), the bigoted man who called for the execution of the exonerated five, is tossing the word ‘lynching’ around,” Pressley, the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, wrote in a tweet. “Lord give me strength to not take the bait but hold this man accountable for every single thing he says.”
Pressley was referencing the five black and Latino men also known as the Central Park Five, who, as teenagers, were wrongly convicted of rape in New York City. Trump has refused to apologize for harsh comments he made about the five in 1989, The New York Times reported earlier this year.
Along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Pressley is one of four women of color in Congress, nicknamed “The Squad,” who have been singled out by Trump for criticism.
The House of Representatives is moving forward with an inquiry into Trump’s requests of foreign leaders to investigate alleged corruption by a key political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”
The Associated Press reported that lawmakers lashed out at the president for his lynching reference, noting lynchings, or hangings, historically were largely used by whites against black men, particularly in the South, beginning in the late 19th century.
“The president has always been pretty loose with his words,” said U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking African American in Congress, in an interview with CNN. “I really believe this man is prone to inflammatory statements. That is one word that no president should apply to himself.”
Clyburn said he was a student of presidential politics and argued former U.S. Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton would “never would have described” previous impeachment efforts in such a fashion.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Illinois who is also black, called on Trump to delete the tweet.
“Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet,” tweeted Rush, who later argued it was an example of why Trump was “unfit for office.”
In a failed measure Monday, 185 GOP lawmakers voted to censure Democratic U.S. Rep Adam Schiff of California, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment inquiry, The Hill reported. Republicans and Trump allege Schiff falsely reframed the president’s July conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked whistleblower complaints and in turn the impeachment inquiry.
Pressley argued Trump’s tweet amounted to “a predictable play to try to distract and divide” on a day when U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor was set to testify before Congress on Trump’s Ukraine policy.
“Don’t take your eye off the ball family,” she tweeted. “We see right through him.”
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