The mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, got tired of a metaphor not based in reality.
Democratic Mayor Kim Driscoll tweeted that President Trump needs to “learn some history” after he claimed the women accused in the city’s infamous 17th century witch trials received more due process than he has as he faces impeachment.
Driscoll wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the trials in 1692 included “powerless, innocent victims” who were “hanged or pressed to death” on scant evidence.
Twenty people suspected of witchcraft were killed in Salem, a coastal city about 20 miles north of downtown Boston, during a frenzy stoked by superstition, fear of disease and strangers, and jealousy. Nineteen were hanged, and one man was crushed by rocks.
“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch trials,” Trump wrote in a blistering, no-holds-barred six-page letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., observing that even Ukraine’s president has repeatedly said at the United Nations that he felt no undue pressure from the White House.
The president argued that Democrats were trying to distract Americans from the strong economy and historically low unemployment numbers, and he pointed out that Democrats have openly called for impeachment since the day he took office.
He added: “One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another President again.”
The president also frequently dismissed investigations into his administration as “witch hunts.”
Trump used the phrase during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the role then-candidate Trump and his campaign may have played.
Two votes in the House are expected Wednesday evening on the articles of impeachment against Trump. The first article alleges abuse of power over Trump pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations into Democrats that could benefit his reelection campaign — the president withheld aid at the time, but insists to this day that there was no “quid pro quo.” The second alleges obstruction of Congress over Trump preventing the House from interviewing witnesses and obtaining documents for the impeachment investigation.
The allegations against Trump, in contrast to the Salem Witch trials, are against a powerful world leader and come with “ample evidence” and “admissions of wrongdoing,” Driscoll said.
“Right, will they ever learn some history?” Driscoll wrote in a follow-up tweet. “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. A dubious legal process that bears no relation to televised impeachment.”
Driscoll said comparing the impeachment proceedings to her city’s dark legacy is “offensive” to the victims and their descendants.
“People in Salem want this history remembered so that it acknowledges going forward what never, ever should happen again,” she said in an interview with WCVB-TV.
White House spokespersons didn’t respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.