The mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, provided a quick history lesson for Donald Trump on Tuesday after the president claimed he has been treated worse during the impeachment process than the men and women accused during the notorious Salem witch trials centuries ago.
In a lengthy six-page tirade addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the House vote on impeachment, Trump declared the two charges leveled against him ― obstruction of congress and abuse of power ― were baseless. He also claimed he’d been treated unfairly and that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll thought it best she educate the president on the historical point he sought to make.
“Learn some history,” she tweeted. In Salem in 1692, “powerless, innocent victims were hanged or pressed to death” in the absence of evidence, she wrote.
Contrary to that, she said, the case against Trump involves ample evidence and admissions of wrongdoing, as well as perpetrators who “are among the most powerful+privileged.”
“This situation is much different than the plight of the witch trial victims, who were convicted using spectral evidence + then brutally hanged or pressed to death,” she wrote. “A dubious legal process that bears no relation to televised impeachment.”
Driscoll threw in a little extra shade with a suggestion for a book that would be a useful gift for Trump.
Appearing later on CNN, Driscoll told host Don Lemon it was “frustrating and offensive” to hear the president make his comparison.
“It’s really disheartening,” she said. “You never think that you’re going to have to retell this history to a leader of our country.”
Driscoll again highlighted differences between the witch trials, which she said had “no rule of law” whatsoever, to the impeachment proceedings. “We’ve got expressions of wrongdoing, we’ve got transcripts, we’ve got a rule of law, in fact the most important rule of law, the Constitution of the United States that’s serving as a guide,” she said.
The trials in Salem resulted in the deaths of 19 innocent people after they were accused of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693. The courts accepted spectral evidence, which refers to witness testimony that the accused person’s spirit appeared to them in dreams or as supernatural beings, even when the accused person was at another location. The men and women found guilty via this “evidence” were then hanged or crushed to death with rocks.