While the alphabet soup networks tried making excuses for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s use of the word “lynching” to describe the Clinton impeachment, CNN host Brooke Baldwin did not give him a pass. During Wednesday’s edition of CNN Newsroom, Baldwin differentiated herself from her colleagues on the other networks by actually taking Democrats to task for their past use of the word “lynching.”
Baldwin opened the segment by pointing out that “when President Trump equated the impeachment inquiry against him to a lynching, many were quick to denounce him; including the Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.” The CNN host proceeded to read aloud Biden’s tweet condemning Trump’s use of the word “lynching” to describe the impeachment inquiry, a comparison the former Vice President described as “abhorrent” and “despicable.”
When his ally President Clinton faced the prospect of impeachment 20 years ago, then-Senator Joe Biden didn’t seem to believe that “to even think about making this comparison” between impeachment and lynching was “abhorrent” or “despicable.” As Baldwin reported, “Joe Biden actually made a similar comparison back in 1998 right here on CNN; when describing the impeachment proceedings against the then-President Bill Clinton.” Baldwin let the audience see Biden’s remarks for themselves by digging into the archives and playing a clip of the relevant exchange between Biden and Wolf Blitzer.
In response to a tweet from CNN Politics highlighting how “Joe Biden said in 1998 that the Bill Clinton impeachment could be seen as ‘partisan lynching,’” Biden issued a half-hearted apology while making sure to smear Trump as a racist. Baldwin read aloud his response; where he wrote, “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.”
After she finished reading aloud Biden’s response to the old video, Baldwin acknowledged that “Biden wasn’t alone. Back in 1998, five House Democrats also compared the impeachment process to a lynching or a lynch mob.” Baldwin spent the rest of the segment focusing on the real victims of lynchings by discussing exhibits at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama highlighting those who lost their lives to lynchings that took place in the South between 1877 and 1950.
As the segment came to a close, Baldwin called out politicians on both sides of the aisle for their use of the racially charged word: “So, for politicians, whether it is President Trump or former Vice President Biden or anyone else, before throwing around the word ‘lynching’ so loosely, just remember the real victims.” Baldwin stressed that the word has “real meaning and that meaning has nothing to do with politicians facing impeachment.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin
BROOKE BALDWIN: I just wanted to take a minute to talk about lynching. Lynching is a word with a history rooted in pain, despair, and brutality; particularly for African-Americans in this country. So, when President Trump equated the impeachment inquiry against him to a lynching, many were quick to denounce him; including the Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden. Biden tweeted “Impeachment is not a ‘lynching.’” And he went on to write, “to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It is despicable.” But as it turns out, Joe Biden actually made a similar comparison back in 1998 right here on CNN; when describing the impeachment proceedings against the then-President Bill Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Biden responded by writing “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.” Biden wasn’t alone. Back in 1998, five House Democrats also compared the Clinton impeachment process to a lynching or lynch mob. But today, this is the focus. We must remember the real victims of lynchings. In the heart of what was once the capital of the Confederacy and also the birthplace of America’s civil rights movement sits a solemn memorial dedicated to more than 4,400 victims of racial terror lynchings in the South between 1877 and 1950. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened just last year in Montgomery, Alabama, to tell the story of this horrific chapter in our nation’s history. Among the real victims of lynching: Mary Turner, who was lynched with her unborn child in Georgia in 1918 for complaining about the lynching of her husband Hayes Turner; David Walker, his wife, and their four children were lynched in Kentucky in 1908 after Mr. Walker was accused of using inappropriate language with a white woman; William Stephens and Jefferson Cole were lynched in Texas in 1895 after they refused to abandon their land to white people; and in 1888, seven black people were lynched in Alabama from drinking from a white man’s well. So, for politicians, whether it is President Trump or former Vice President Biden or anyone else, before throwing around the word “lynching” so loosely, just remember the real victims of the targeted racial violence carried out by white mobs that was intended to torture and traumatize an entire race of people. Lynching, it has real meaning. And that meaning has nothing to do with politicians facing impeachment.