In response to a video that resurfaced showing then-Senator Joe Biden saying in 1998 that Bill Clinton’s impeachment could be seen as a “partisan lynching,” the now Democratic frontrunner has apologized for it.
“This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that,” Biden tweeted Tuesday evening. “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.”
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. https://t.co/mHfFC8HluZ
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) October 23, 2019
You see what he did there? Despite his apology, Biden argued that his use of the word “lynching” was innocuous, but Trump’s use was deliberate and divisive. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
The problem is that Biden wasn’t alone in using the word “lynching” to describe the Clinton impeachment inquiry back in 1998. At least five House Democrats used the same language—including some of Trump’s critics today for using the word.
Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) and Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), both described the Clinton impeachment as a “lynching” on the House floor. Both have called out Trump for using the word “lynching.” Former Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) described calls for Clinton’s impeachment as a “lynch mob mentality.” I suspect some may argue that it is okay for these men to use the word because all three are African-American. But it wasn’t just African-American Democrats describing the Clinton impeachment as a “lynching.” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) used the same language. “We shouldn’t participate in a lynch mob against the president,” he told Newsday in September 1998. Nadler is currently the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and white. Former congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) used very graphic language to slam the Clinton impeachment. “This feels today like we’re taking a step down the road to becoming a political lynch mob,” McDermott said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “Find the rope, find the tree and ask a bunch of questions later.” McDermott is also white.
Just because of the painful history of lynching in the United States, that doesn’t mean the word should be erased from our vocabulary, or that it should belong to only to African-Americans or Democrats for use as a pejorative or hyperbole. The problem here is not Trump’s use of the word, or Biden’s or anyone else’s. It’s the double standard that some people can use the word with impunity, and others can’t. While the left feigns outrage over the word “lynching” they haphazardly call Trump, and pretty much all Republicans, Nazis or Hitler. How many people were killed by Hitler and the Nazis, but equating people with them is still allowed, if not celebrated, by the left when used to insult a Republican?
It’s time we stop getting worked up over language and instead acknowledge the simple fact that what Trump said was absolutely correct.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis