I was sure that, in his extravagant demonstrations of sycophancy toward You-Know-Who, our senior senator had thoroughly plumbed the depths.
Lindsey Graham, I thought, could sink no lower.
Well, I was certainly wrong. He said this in response to Trump’s assertion that he was being subjected to a “lynching”:
“I think it’s pretty well accurate—this is a shame, this is a joke,” Graham told a gaggle of reporters on Monday morning. “This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American.”
Later, he added that it was “literally a political lynching.” Yes, “literally.”
There’s a hierarchy, or perhaps I should say, a “lowerarchy,” to these lynching comments.
To begin with, on the most basic level, unless you’re talking about a mob taking a person out and murdering him, without any sort of legal due process, then you are engaging in gross hyperbole, and it is objectionable.
This applies to when Joe Biden said it back in day — specifically, back in the day when Lindsey Graham was all for impeachment, and saw it as his constitutional duty to pursue that course. He said the Clinton impeachment could be seen by some as a “political lynching.” Specifically, he said in 1998:
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.
He shouldn’t have said that. That metaphor was completely wrong to use. It was, as I said, gross hyperbole, and Biden was right to apologize for it, or as the BBC reported, apologise for it.
That was bad. Of course, what Trump did was considerably worse, a fact that all the Republicans who so gleefully cited the old Biden quote last night conveniently ignored.
Here’s his Tweet on the subject:
So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
In case the reasons why it was worse escape you as well, let’s consider some of the reasons:
- Donald Trump is president of the United States. Yes, I know we no longer expect dignity in that office, but I thought I’d mention it.
- He was talking about himself, not speaking in defense of another. In other words, engaging in self-pity, because as you know, in Trump’s world, there’s only one person who matters.
- He was saying the impeachment process actually is a “lynching,” leaving no doubt. Biden wasn’t directly saying that’s what the Clinton impeachment was; he was just warning that someone in the future might choose to see it that way. (A more subtle difference than the others, but a difference.)
- Trump’s point is that impeachment is somehow extralegal, rather than what it is — the House performing its constitutional duty with full due process, just as Graham did in the Clinton instance. Biden simply questioned whether the “high bar” set by the Framers was being met.
- And this is the biggie: Biden apologized. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to do that.
So yeah: What Trump did, what he continues to do since he has not withdrawn the remark, was and is quite a bit worse.
But not the worst. That distinction is reserved for Lindsey Graham. The senator has no excuse, because he is not an ignorant, babbling idiot. He is an attorney, and given his personal experience something of an expert on impeachment. HE KNOWS BETTER.
And yet he didn’t merely say, “Oh, give Trump a break; he’s in a fragile emotional state and, as I pointed out several years back, he’s a jackass.”
No, he went beyond Trump. He said, “This is a lynching in every sense.”
“Every” sense, of course, includes the literal sense. And in case you think our senator misspoke and did not mean that, he later said it was “literally a political lynching.”
So, you see, WAY worse.
So know you have it. Bad, worse, worst.
I hope you find the distinctions helpful.