The House of Representatives on Wednesday came down in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, leveling noncriminal charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” by 33- and 31-vote margins against him.
Before the dust had even settled on the almost exclusively party-line vote, however, video of Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn undercutting his party’s own impeachment narrative made the rounds on Twitter and in the conservative media sphere.
Questioned Thursday morning by CNN anchor John Berman regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay delivery of the articles of impeachment to a Republican-controlled Senate, Clyburn admitted House Democrats will likely withhold the articles “as long as it takes” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to meet the party’s demands for trial.
Bringing the case to trial even a minute before then would be a waste of time, the 14-term South Carolina Democrat admitted — particularly considering McConnell promised less than one week ago there is “zero chance” the president will be convicted by the body under his leadership.
“Even if [McConnell] doesn’t come around to committing to a fair trial, keep those articles here,” Clyburn said. “If you know — and he’s has told you — what he’s going to do, it’s almost like, ‘Let’s give [Trump] a fair trial and hang him.’ I mean, it’s the reverse of that.”
The number 3 House Democrat, James Clyburn, just said this about President Trump:
This hatred and anger is out of control! pic.twitter.com/NPFTdbhgTH
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) December 19, 2019
Of course, some conservatives entirely missed the importance and irony of the statement, deciding instead to obsess over the fact that Clyburn had made the mistake of uttering the word “hang” during the interview.
Conservative commentators and operatives quickly jumped to judgment as the video began to circulate.
Multiple outlets mischaracterized Clyburn’s statement, presenting it out of context as simply, “Let’s give him a fair trial and hang him.”
“Majority Whip Clyburn just said ‘let’s give the President a trial, then hang him,'” right-wing influencer Charlie Kirk tweeted, piling on. “A leading Democrat lawmaker just called for the public execution of our President.”
“And the media says Trump is dividing America?” Kirk asked.
Oh, if only we could focus for a minute without flying off the handle and turning into the same outrage-fueled mob we so often rebuke the left for introducing to our body politic.
“Let’s give him a fair trial, and hang him,” Clyburn said.https://t.co/09TFEOXpww
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) December 19, 2019
Majority Whip Clyburn just said “let’s give the President a trial, then hang him”
A leading Democrat lawmaker just called for the public execution of our President
And the media says Trump is dividing America?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) December 19, 2019
First of all, Clyburn did not say the president should be hanged.
Quite the opposite in fact.
Clyburn argued that bringing the articles to trial with knowledge the evidence will be ignored in favor of acquitting the president is the bitter, partisan equivalent to bringing the case to trial knowing the evidence will be ignored in favor of convicting Trump — a figurative hanging by the president’s own words.
The irony is actually unbearable.
The man just outright admitted that exactly what the Democrats have done all along these past few months — proceeding with impeachment at a breakneck pace under a foregone conclusion — is a dirty, partisan play.
Unfortunately, some conservatives were too busy clutching their pearls at the employment of an ill-advised rhetorical device to capitalize on any of that.
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