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October 22, 2019

The Boston Globe: US Rep. Pressley slams Trump ‘lynching’ remark but says people should stay focused on impeachment

Massachusetts US Representative Ayanna Pressley on Tuesday joined the chorus of voices criticizing President Donald Trump for using the word “lynching” to describe the impeachment investigation of Trump underway in the House of Representatives.

But Pressley also said in a tweet that people shouldn’t be distracted by their outrage at the Republican president and instead focus on what’s expected to be key testimony today from a US diplomat as the impeachment case against Trump gains momentum.

Trump claimed in his tweet that he was being impeached “without due process or fairness or any legal rights.”

“All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” he said.

Trump drew widespread criticism for his jarring use of the word “lynching” in describing his political situation. Thousands of black Americans were lynched, or executed in mob violence, after the Civil War. The NAACP says there were 4,743 lynchings from 1882 to 1968, mostly in the South, including 3,446 lynchings in which the victims were black.

Pressley, a Democrat, tweeted that she hadn’t “even had coffee yet” and Trump, “the bigoted man who called for the execution of the exonerated 5 is tossing the word ‘lynching’ around.”

She was apparently referring to the case of the Central Park 5, who were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in New York City in 1989. Trump took out newspaper advertisements at the time calling for New York State to adopt the death penalty (though the ads never explicitly called for the death of the five defendants). Trump told Tne New York Times in June he would not apologize for taking out the ads.

Presssley continued in her tweet, “Lord give me the strength to not take the bait but hold this man accountable for every single thing he says and does.”

In a tweet posted moments later, she told her nearly half-million followers that Trump was “using a predictable play to try to distract & divide. We see right through him.”

She included a link to an NBC News story about the closed-door testimony expected Tuesday from diplomat Bill Taylor, one of a series of witnesses who have been questioned by the House impeachment inquiry about Trump’s efforts to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political foe, former Democratic vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Taylor is the author of a key text message that has been scrutinized as part of the investigation into whether Trump held up military to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor texted another diplomat in September.

Pressley is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, one of the committees investigating Trump.