Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) kept trying to defend President Donald Trump’s claim that he was being subjected to a “lynching” on Tuesday, but he increasingly flailed when a reporter pressed him on the word’s racial connotations.
Earlier in the day, Graham called House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the president “a lynching in every sense,” and said that the president was right to make that comparison.
According to Huffington Post’s Igor Bobic, however, Graham started to hedge when the Washington Post’s Robert Costa pressed him about the history of lynching black people in the United States.
“It’s not just racial,” Graham insisted. “I’m from South Carolina, I understand it very well. Mob rule is what lynching is all about. You grab somebody because you don’t like them. I didn’t say they were lynching the president literally.”
First, Graham actually did call the House Democrats’ impeachment process “a lynching in every sense.”
Second, lynching in the United States is directly connected to racism against black Americans, especially in southern states.
According to historical figures compiled by Tuskegee Institute, roughly 73 percent of the 4,743 lynchings that occurred in the United States from 1882 to 1968 were of black Americans.
The lynching of black Americans was particularly brutal in the southern United States — in Graham’s home state of South Carolina, for example, 156 black people were lynched between 1882 and 1968, compared to just four white people who were lynched over that same period.