Lynching was a racist terror crime employed by white supremacists to murder more than 4,400 black Americans between 1877 and 1950. So it is grotesque for the president of the United States to misappropriate that term as Donald Trump did in a Tuesday morning tweet regarding the House’s impeachment inquiry: “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!”
Florida had the second–most lynchings of any state on a per-capita basis, with 315 total — 53 across Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Hernando and Citrus counties, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. John F. Evans was one of them. In downtown St. Petersburg at 10:25 on the night of Nov. 12, 1914, hundreds of armed white men broke into the city jail and dragged Evans out. He was accused of killing a prominent white man. They put a noose around his neck and marched him to the intersection of Second Avenue S and what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. There the mob lynched him, stringing him up from a telephone pole 40 feet in the air. The mob fired 500 shots at his body, which was left hanging until the morning, near where Tropicana Field sits today. This was a lynching. What Trump faces is a legal process set out in the Constitution.
Reaction to Trump’s tweet was appropriately swift and pointed, except for one notable exception from his erstwhile ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham:
“This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American.”
A comment to reporters from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is a close Trump ally.
This is the Constitution at work...
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... and this is murder by a lawless mob.
Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Tim Nickens, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.