Joe Biden on Tuesday attempted to walk back comments he made in 1998 likening the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton to a “partisan lynching,” shortly after castigating President Donald Trump for using similar language.
“This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that. Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily,” the former vice president wrote on social media.
The apology came shortly after CNN published an interview the former vice president did with Wolf Blitzer at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In the interview, Biden condemned the GOP’s push for impeachment during the interview, likening it to a “partisan lynching.”
“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,” said Biden, who at the time was the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Despite using similar language in 1998, Biden lambasted Trump for claiming the recently launched impeachment inquiry impeded on right to due process and therefore amounted to “a 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,” Biden said in response to Trump’s claims. “It’s despicable.”
The former vice president is not the only high-profile Democrat to have described impeachment as a “lynching” during the Clinton years, but now finds the term repugnant when used by Trump. As Breitbart News reported on Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) similary claimed Republicans were “running a lynch mob” during the Clinton imbroglio.
“I am the president’s defender in the sense that I haven’t seen anything yet that would rise, in my opinion, to the level of impeachable offense,” Nadler said in 1998. “In pushing the process, in pushing the arguments of fairness and due process the Republicans so far have been running a lynch mob.”