“Hey, Al Green, we got an impeachment for you. It’s gonna be yours. Was actually gonna give you a short trial before we hang your n***** ass.”
This is one of the voicemails U.S. Congressman Al Green of Texas received after he made the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment last week.
Green played clips from some of the voicemails at a town hall meeting over the weekend.
“You ain’t gonna impeach nobody, you f****** n*****,” another voicemail said. “Try it, and we’ll lynch all you f****** n******. You’ll be hanging from a tree. I didn’t see anybody calling for the impeachment of your n***** Obama when he was born in Kenya. He’s not even an American. So f*** you, n*****.”
The messages Green shared sounded like they came from two different male voices.
“We are not going to be intimidated,” Green said at the weekend meeting. “We are not going to allow this to cause us to deviate from what we believe to be the right thing to do and that is to proceed with the impeachment of President Trump.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the meeting held about 100 constituents and was highly secured by police.
“When a person talks about lynching you, we think that’s a pretty serious threat,” Green said.
The Equal Justice Initiative’s “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” describes lynching as terrorism.
“Lynchings were violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials,” according to EJI.
Green’s statement regarding the president on Wednesday came following the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey — an act he called an “obstruction of justice.”
Green said his statement came with “a heavy heart” and “a sense of responsibility and duty to this country,” and “not for political purposes.”
“I do it because, Mr. Speaker, there is a belief in this country that no one is above the law, and that includes the President of the United States of America,” Green said.
While Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed varying levels of concern over the implications of the firing, Green was reportedly the first congressman to call for the president’s impeachment on the House floor.
Many other Democrats have pushed harder for an independent investigation into the president and his alleged ties to Russia. While some have criticized Republicans for taking a lackadaisical approach to the probe, they have also cautioned against moving too quickly and jeopardizing an investigation.
But Green, who called the Comey firing an impeachable act, told the Guardian over the weekend that taking such a stance is “not too soon.”
“When the act is committed, from that point forward the impeachment can begin at any moment,” Green told the publication. “So the president committed an impeachable act when he fired the FBI director who was investigating him. That’s pretty strong evidence.”
To actually impeach a president is a difficult legal process. Only two presidents have been impeached in U.S. history: Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Johnson and Clinton were both acquitted by the Senate. President Richard Nixon resigned after facing almost inevitable impeachment, and he was later pardoned by President Gerald Ford.
Green explained on the House floor that impeachment does not equal removal from office but that it would be the first step in exposing injustice and holding the president accountable:
“For those who do not know, impeachment does not mean that the president will be found guilty. It simply means that the House of Representatives will bring charges against the president. It’s similar to an indictment but not quite the same thing. Once the president is impeached, then the Senate can have a trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the President. Whether he is guilty or not guilty, to be more specific. But the House of Representatives has a duty that it can take up and that is of impeachment.”
According to an analysis by Politico, the impeachment process almost always begins as a political move.
“Sinking approval ratings are the prerequisite, telling Trump’s opponents that going after him would be more political opportunity than political risk,” Politico notes.
Reuters revealed last week that Trump’s approval rating has hit an all-time low since he was inaugurated.
“The May 14-18 opinion poll found that 38 percent of adults approved of Trump while 56 percent disapproved,” Reuters reported. “The remaining 6 percent had ‘mixed feelings.’”
According to USA Today, “Trump has at least one thing going for him that his predecessors did not — the Congress that would have to impeach and convict him is controlled by his Republican Party.”
Incidentally, Reuters attributed the recent dip to falling support from Republicans — a good sign if Green moves forward with the case for impeachment, which would need support from both parties.
“Among Republicans, 23 percent expressed disapproval of Trump in the latest poll, up from 16 percent in the same poll last week,” Reuters wrote. “The decline in support from Republicans appears to be a primary reason why Trump’s overall approval rating is now at the lowest level since he took office.”
In regard to lynching, the U.N.’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent last year recommended that African Americans receive reparations for years of “racial terrorism.”
“Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, a systemic ideology of racism ensuring the domination of one group over another continues to impact negatively on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today,” the group’s report states.