Former vice president Joe Biden apologized Tuesday night for calling Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment a “partisan lynching.”
Biden’s comments were unearthed after President Trump faced criticism Tuesday for characterizing House Democrats’ impeachment efforts as a “lynching” on Twitter.
Trump’s comments sparked a bipartisan controversy. Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) responded by saying “the President never should have made that comparison,” while Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called the use of the term “disgraceful.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) defended Trump, calling the impeachment inquiry “a lynching in every sense” and “un-American.”
Biden joined in and tweeted a response to Trump, calling the president’s comments “despicable.”
“Impeachment is not ‘lynching,’ it is part of our Constitution. Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent,” Biden said.
Later, CNN unearthed a video from a 1998 interview with anchor Wolf Blitzer in which Biden called the potential impeachment of former President Bill Clinton “a partisan lynching.”
After the Biden campaign initially declined to comment, Biden tweeted an apology before pivoting to attack Trump, saying “This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that. Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily.”