Politics

Watch: Trump speaks at historically black college, days after calling impeachment probe 'a lynching'

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President Donald Trump on Friday addresses Benedict College, a historically black college in South Carolina, three days after he posted a tweet comparing the House Democrats' impeachment probe to "a lynching."

"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, all without due process of fairness or any legal rights," he tweeted. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"

Trump on Friday will kick off the bipartisan forum and will outline the next phase of the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform law that passed in Congress in late 2018, Greenville News reports.

Several Democratic presidential candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders will speak at the gathering on Saturday and Sunday, presenting their plans to tackle criminal justice reform.

Reaction to the president's Twitter comments this week elicited both outrage and support.

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat who is chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "True to form, Donald Trump is once again using racial rhetoric to distract from the truth – his corrupted behavior is weakening the integrity of our democracy, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security."

But GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, agreed with the president, saying of the impeachment inquiry, "This is a lynching in every sense."

Republican Sen. Tim Scott, also of South Carolina, hedged his remarks. "There's no question that the impeachment process is the closest thing to a political death row trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process," he said.

But, Scott added, "I wouldn't use the word lynching."

Benedict students also had mixed reactions, with some calling the Trump's appearance "strange" and others saying it's a "great opportunity for students to meet the president of the United States." But according to the New York Times, of the 300 people invited to the event, only about 10 students will be admitted. More than half of the seats were reserved for guests and allies of the administration.

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