Days before he is scheduled to participate in a criminal justice forum at a historically black college in South Carolina, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell says President Trump is facing criticism for comparing the House impeachment inquiry to a "lynching" in a tweet posted Tuesday morning.
In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said the usage of the term in this situation offended his sense of history. "I'm not just a politician up here, I'm a Southern politician. I'm a product of the South," said Clyburn. "I know the history of that word. That is a word that we ought be very, very careful about using."
Republican Senator Tim Scott—who also represents South Carolina and is the sole African-American Republican in the Senate—said that while he personally wouldn't use the term, he understands the president's "absolute rejection" of the impeachment process. He also told reporters that he disagreed with the term "lynching" being racially-charged. "I would love for the House to take up unanimously passed lynching legislation in the Senate and do something with it as opposed to complaining, simply about the president's use of it," said Scott.
The NAACP says there were at least 4,743 lynchings in the United States from 1882 to 1968 and that 3,446 of these people were black. According to Tuskegee Institute archival data, there were at least 156 lynchings of black people in South Carolina during this time period. A study released earlier this year showed that black people who live in Southern counties that had a relatively higher number of historical lynchings between 1882 and 1930 have lower voter registration rates today.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores has endorsed Elizabeth Warren, writing in a Medium post that she "had never felt so understood by a presidential candidate before." CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin notes Flores was a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is a former board member of the Sanders-aligned Our Revolution. In March, she accused Joe Biden of inappropriately kissing the back of her head in 2014.
The California Democratic Party will let some six million independents cast ballots in their primary, officials announced Tuesday. Several Super Tuesday contests, including for mammoth delegate hauls in Texas and Virginia, also do not require independents to register as Democrats to cast ballots in their primary. "The California Democratic Party is the party of inclusion. Unlike others, we will continue to make it easier - not harder - for Californians to ensure their voices are heard at the ballot box," state party chair Rusty Hicks said in a statement.
With voting kicking off in states like California as early as February 3rd, CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says the race is already heating up for key Super Tuesday contests: Bernie Sanders today rolled out dozens of new endorsements from both California and Colorado.
Andrew Yang is headed to Nevada this weekend, slated to speak alongside Bernie Sanders (via livestream) and Julián Castro at "The People's Presidential Forum." Among those looking forward to Yang's visit is a growing group of supporters at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, who will hold their first organizing meeting Wednesday. "I would rank us as number two right now behind Bernie," sophomore Joseph Gumalo, a former supporter of President Trump, tells CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Gumalo helped found the "Rebels Yang Gang," banking on a surge of campus support for the entrepreneur. Yang joins a handful of campaigns courting Silver State students, from Tom Steyer sponsoring food at a debate watch party to "Wolf Pack for Warren" hosting a celebration of Nevada's birthday this month.
IN THE SENATE
President Trump's decision to compare the impeachment inquiry to a "lynching" has launched another mini-controversy Senate Republicans up for reelection have to answer questions about, reports CBS News associate producer Eleanor Watson. Democrats reprimanded the president for using the term, and Republicans have been responding to questions about the president's conduct throughout the day.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended the language. "This is a lynching and in every sense this is un-American," Graham told reports, adding that the president's tweet was "accurate." On the other hand, Senator Susan Collins of Maine did not answer a reporter's question on camera but released a tweet saying, "'Lynching' brings back images of a terrible time in our nation's history, and the President never should have made that comparison."
And Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also up in 2020, said on the Hill, "Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching," adding, "That was an unfortunate choice of words; it is an unfair process, and a better way to characterize it would be to call it an unfair process."
KY GUBERNATORIAL TIGHTENS UP
CBS News Digital Political Reporter Grace Segers reports Kentucky's Gubernatorial race between incumbent Governor Matt Bevin and Democrat Andy Beshear is at a dead heat, according to a new poll by Mason-Dixon polling. Polls in the summer had Beshear leading by 9 points or more, and Bevin has had one of the highest disapproval ratings according to Morning Consult.
However, visits by Republican stalwarts such as Sarah Huckabee Sanders and North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows and news of a Trump rally on the eve of Election Day seem to be helping Bevin. The president has a 57 percent approval rating in Kentucky, which Republicans will look to use to their advantage by nationalizing the race.
Bevin campaign manager Davis Paine told CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro they believe the "Bevin campaign has the momentum" and that voters are "are beginning to tune in and just how liberal Andy Beshear is, whether it's his opposition to President Trump and silence on impeachment, his refusal to ban sanctuary cities, or his pro-abortion agenda and abortion lobby backers."
Meanwhile, Democratic Governors Association spokesperson David Turner downplayed the polling changes, and said they have been prepared for a tight race and is confident in Beshear's campaign. "Kentucky is a ruby red state. We have the resources and were prepared for the eventuality that it will be a close race…Beshear is finishing his campaign strong, Bevin is finishing flailing and desperate."