Flashback: Jerry Nadler in 1998 Accused Republicans of Running a ‘Lynch Mob’ Against Bill Clinton

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats are expressing outrage over President Trump’s comparison of the ongoing impeachment inquiry to “lynching,” but a top House Democrat — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) — made that same comparison himself in 1998 during Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

According to an October 4, 1998, Associated Press article that touted Nadler’s role as a top Clinton defender, the then-51 year-old congressman said:

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. …

I wish we could get this over with quickly. … In pushing the process, in pushing the arguments of fairness and due process the Republicans so far have been running a lynch mob.

Despite this, House Democrats have rushed to condemn Trump’s comparison of impeachment to lynching and demanded an apology.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said Tuesday, “The president should not compare a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry to such a dangerous and dark chapter of American history. It’s irresponsible for him to do so and I hope that he will apologize.”

The New York Times’ Twitter account tweeted that Trump was using a term that “invokes the decades-long racist history of white mob murders of black people.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said Trump comparing the impeachment inquiry to lynching was “beneath the dignity of the office of the President of the United States”:

CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has also taken some heat for defending Trump’s comparison:

Nadler also said in 1998 that impeachment “could be the most divisive thing in American politics since the Vietnam War.”

“You get a large segment of the American population saying ‘You’ve staged a coup d’etat, you overthrew the election unfairly.’ The other part of the American people say, ‘No, we didn’t,’” said Nadler.

He also warned Republicans against running a “partisan witchhunt.”

“So far it’s been done very wrong and very unfairly,” he said then.


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