Flashback: Left Thinks Lynching Okay Description — for Republicans

US President Bill Clinton listens during ceremonies for former Agriculture Secretary Mike

A quick online search reveals the irony of the outrage from Democrats and Never Trumpers after President Donald Trump compared the ongoing political attacks against him as a lynching on Twitter.

Here are some examples from as far back as 1998 up to recent times when lynching was used to describe what Democrats thought was a partisan political attack:

• An article published in the New York Times on December 19, 1998 during the impeachment of Bill Clinton:

Later, Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat of Missouri, said the Republicans wanted to “decapitate their Commander in Chief.” Representative Steven R. Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat, complained of a “Republican juggernaut, driven by the right wing.” Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, spoke of “a political lynching,” and Representative Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat, denounced what he described as “a lynching.”

• Brianna Keilar interviewed Never Trumper and former congressman from Connecticut Chris Shays on Aug. 11, 2016, on CNN:

Brianna Keilar: Another Republican breaking with his party to support Hillary Clinton. We’re talking about former congressman Chris Shays, who wrote on Op-Ed for cnn.com about his decision, saying in part, “I know some Republicans dislike President Obama and have such a strong dislike for Hillary Clinton. They are willing to vote for a man they know does not have the temperament, knowledge, or experience to be president. In fact, I think many Republicans know Donald Trump could cause great damage to our country and the world at large and still plan to vote for him. But not me.”

Former Connecticut congressman Chris Shays joining us now. And tell us about your decision. How did you come to this conclusion that you were not going to — not only are you not going to support Donald Trump, but you are going to support Hillary Clinton.

Shays: Well, first off, I was a strong and am a strong supporter of John Kasich. He was my first choice, my second choice, my third choice, but now my conclusion is that Hillary Clinton is my choice. If you had told me I would have said that three months ago, I would have been really surprised.

So I watched the conventions. Republicans had a very dark convention. It was almost like a lynching, you know — guilty and lock her up. And I thought this isn’t the party of Ronald Reagan and it ain’t the party that I joined. 


• MSNBC interviewed Hillary Clinton on March 14, 2016:

Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump is “inciting mob violence” that recalls lynch mobs Monday evening at an MSNBC townhall, where she also took tough questions on foreign policy and trade.

Clinton told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who moderated the event in Springfield, Illinois, that she holds Trump responsible for the violence seen in recent days at his rallies, and believes his rhetoric is not only wrong and offensive, but also “dangerous.” “He’s been building this incitement,” she said.

“When you are inciting mob violence, which is what Trump is doing,” Clinton said, “there’s a lot of memories that people have. They’re in the DNA. People remember mob violence that lead to lynching, people remember mob violence that lead to people being shot, being grabbed, being mistreated. And it’s something that has a deep, almost psychological resonance to people who have ever been in any position of feeling somewhat fearful, somewhat worried.”


• Dan Rodricks wrote a commentary about Bill Clinton’s impeachment on December 16, 1998, in the Baltimore Sun:

So Clinton stepped into a trap set by those who’ve been out to get him. And, knowing this – because he’s a Rhodes scholar, after all – he still didn’t tell the whole truth. He gave his enemies the hanging rope. (I think he should have told Jones’ lawyers, and later Starr, that the question of his relationships with women-not-his-wife was none of their business. Or he should have told the truth.)

So here we are, my fellow Americans.

Clinton lied under oath, and that warrants impeachment. Right?

Some say no. A lie stemming from a private matter doesn’t matter. A lie in such a situation is understandable; most any man or woman would have done the same. Impeachment for such a minor offense would hurt the country more than Clinton’s lies ever did. Besides, this whole thing looks like a political lynching, an attempt to overturn two elections.

• The Washington Post published this on October 31, 2016, about former FBI director James Comey:

Trump’s entire campaign boiled down to one argument, summed up in his ever-elegant designation of his opponent as “Crooked Hillary.” That was all he had. At his political rallies, even at the Republican National Convention, he encouraged his devoted throng to shout “Lock her up!” While many Republicans no doubt believed she had to be guilty of something (with the same confidence that many Democrats believed George W. Bush lied the nation into war in Iraq), they also needed her to be found guilty. With a sure loser as their nominee, it was their only hope. Republicans had become a lynch mob, demanding frontier justice, and they howled in outrage when Comey refused to participate in the hanging, accusing him of unfairly rigging the election when all he had done was his job.

• CBS wrote about the “GOP Lynch mob” on April 6, 2011:

GOP lynch mob is still trying to string up the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Members of the House Financial Services Committee met today to discuss four bills, all sponsored by Republicans and backed by the banking industry, aimed at subduing the agency even before it officially launches this summer.

• The New York Times wrote about Bill Clinton’s impeachment on September 18, 1998:

A ”large volume of calls” to Senator John Glenn, a Democrat who said this week that it would be ”reckless and injudicious” for him to join ”the rush to judgment” in the Lewinsky matter, have run 2 to 1 in favor of resignation or impeachment. Mr. Chabot’s office said the tally there was 425 to 15 against Mr. Clinton since Kenneth W. Starr issued his report a week ago.

Not that the President lacks vocal supporters in this state. The Ohio Democratic chairman, David J. Leland, said, ”The vast majority of Ohio Democrats want to see this President continue in office, because they know a political lynching when they see one.”

• The Baltimore Sun wrote about Bill Clinton’s impeachment on September 12, 1998:

“This feels today like we’re taking a step down the road to becoming a political lynch mob,” fumed Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state. “Find the rope, find the tree and ask a bunch of questions later.”

• Columnist Mark Shields wrote about then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich on November 2, 2004:

Four years later, Speaker Gingrich led a ‘family values’ House Republican lynch mob bent on stringing up and impeaching the faithless and lying husband who was the president of the United States and a Democrat.

• Columnist Rosa Brooks wrote about the Breitbart lynch mob on Foreign Policy‘s website on February 7, 2017:

Here’s how lynch mobs form, in the age of the alt-right and “alternative facts.”

First, you inadvertently wave a red flag at an arena full of bulls. Then you sit back and wait for the internet to do its dark magic.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.