South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn said Saturday he is not going to be intimidated by anyone in the White House after President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign falsely suggested Clyburn called for Trump’s hanging.
“They’re bullies. They’re trying to intimidate,” the House Majority Whip told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on “Newsroom.”
“My goodness, what I’ve been through in this country, what I go through every day, you aren’t going to intimidate me,” he continued. “They can attempt all they want to. I’m going to continue to speak out the way I know to speak out, the way I should speak out to represent my constituents, the way I should, and I’m not going to be intimidated by people who hide behind some tweet.”
Clyburn said: “I am not going to be intimidated by anybody in this White House or by anybody out in the blogosphere. I’ve lived too long to be intimidated by anybody.”
The congressman’s comments come after the Trump campaign posted a tweet and video clip that took remarks Clyburn made to CNN on Thursday far out of context. The clip was soon rocketed around pro-Trump social media, and some of Trump’s prominent allies made the campaign’s dishonest framing of Clyburn’s remark even more incendiary.
According to a fact check by CNN’s Daniel Dale, Clyburn did use the words “hang him,” but this was not a call to hang Trump or anyone else. Rather, Clyburn was saying that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments in favor of Trump’s acquittal on articles of impeachment, in advance of a Senate trial, have shown that McConnell is “not going to be impartial” in running the proceedings – just as if it would show bias if someone with the “reverse” perspective had said in advance of a trial, “Let’s give him a fair trial and hang him.’”
“I’m very pleased that Fox News has come out and said they are misrepresenting the congressman’s words. I forgot, some very right-wing groups have come out and called them on this,” Clyburn said. “And that is something to be proud of.”
“So, you know, I don’t have a problem with conservatives,” he continued. “My parents were conservative. Much more conservative than I am. I respect conservatives. I do not respect misrepresenters and that’s what these people are doing, misrepresenting the facts.”
CNN’s Daniel Dale contributed to this report.