• Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, "all Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching" about the ongoing impeachment inquiry he faces.
  • Graham further said he believes impeachment "is a lynching in every sense" and "un-American."
  • Graham disputed the idea that the comment was racially insensitive, saying, "No, I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason."
  • In South Carolina, a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative study found that at least 164 African-Americans were publicly lynched in the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow south between 1877 and 1950.
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Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended President Donald Trump tweeting that facing an impeachment inquiry is "a lynching" on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that he believes impeachment "is a lynching in every sense" and "un-American."

Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, "someday, 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."

Trump's comparison of the ongoing impeachment investigation to the systemic murdering and torture that thousands of African-Americans faced in the late 19th and early 20th century was immediately decried as highly offensive and racially insensitive.

Graham disputed the idea that the comment was racially insensitive, saying, "No, I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason."

Read more: Trump calls impeachment inquiry a 'lynching' as cracks emerge in Republican lawmakers' support for him

Graham's colleague Sen. Tim Scott also of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, also told NBC that "there's no question that the impeachment process is the closet thing to a political death row trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process. I wouldn't use the word lynching."

In South Carolina, a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative study found that at least 164 African-Americans were publicly lynched in the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow south between 1877 and 1950 out of a total documented 3,959 lynchings throughout the Jim Crow South.

"Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation," the report said , adding that "many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators."

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried to deny and walk back Trump's tweet, incorrectly telling reporters , "the president's not comparing what's happened to him to one of the country's darkest moments."

Rep. James Clyburn, a veteran South Carolina lawmaker and the House Majority Whip, reacted with shock and dismay, saying, "that is one word no president ought to apply to himself."

Other black lawmakers and public figures also denounced the remark:

Read more:

Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's staunchest GOP allies, called the president a 'handful' and suggested he may support impeachment if new evidence comes out

Lindsey Graham got duped by a notorious pair of Russian pranksters pretending to be Turkey's defense minister

Trump's 'red wall' against impeachment is looking less stable after 2 GOP senators said they were wavering

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