President Donald Trump defended his use of the term "lynching" to describe the ongoing impeachment inquiry of his actions toward Ukraine, despite criticism that the term is not appropriate outside the context of racially charged hate crimes.
"It's a word that many Democrats have used, it's a word that many people have used over the years, but that is a word that's been used many times. Let me tell you something, the level of unfairness for a perfect conversation with the president of Ukraine, this was a perfect conversation," he told reporters at the White House on Friday.
Lynching is defined by Merriam Webster as "to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval or permission."
Multiple lawmakers said Trump's use of the term is inappropriate because the president is being investigated through an official process and experts have said that using "lynching" as a political tool could make it easier to forget the painful history of the term.
There were at least 4,743 lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1968 -- almost three-quarters of the victims were black, according to the NAACP. However, Latinos, Jewish and Italian Americans and other immigrant groups were also lynched during periods of racial tension as minorities moved into traditionally white communities of Western European ancestry.
Clarence Thomas, during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1991, accused the committee of racism, referring to it as a "high-tech lynching."
Former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden recently apologized for an October 1998 politically-charged comment where he said that the impeachment of President Bill Clinton could be seen as "partisan lynching."
Trump's defense of his comments comes just before he heads to Benedict College, a historically black college in South Carolina Friday, amid concerns about non-white voters' support for the Republican party ahead of the 2020 election.
The president also repeated his comments that he believes the investigation is "a hoax."
"It's just a continuation of the Russian witch hunt which turned out to be phony, the Mueller deal was phony, and now they have this. And all it is is very simple," Trump said.
Trump compared the impeachment process to "a lynching" on Twitter Tuesday, prompting criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.