The mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, is speaking out after President Donald Trump compared his impeachment inquiry to the Salem Witch Trials.
"Learn some history," Mayor Kim Driscoll, a Democrat, said in a tweet, adding the victims in the Salem trials of 1692 were "hanged or pressed to death" despite absence of evidence and being "powerless."
Driscoll's tweet came after Trump said of the impeachment inquiry that "More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials" in a scathing letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Nineteen people accused of practicing witchcraft were killed during the hysteria in Salem in 1692. Driscoll said the president’s comments are offensive to the victims and their relatives.
“Claiming that you’re being treated worse than innocent people who were hanged or pressed to death, there’s just no comparison,” Driscoll said in an interview with NBC10 Boston.
John Goff, a historian who wrote a book about Salem’s Witch House, said he also found the president’s comments inappropriate. He said it is important to remember that people are more likely to get a fair trial now after lessons learned in the Salem witch trials when there was no rule of law and the victims could be convicted based on dreams.
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“As a consequence of the horrors of that situation, laws were changed to create the American legal system we have today,” Goff said.
The mayor said she does not expect to hear back from the president, but she would welcome him and anyone else to visit the memorials and learn about the Salem witch trials in person.
“We want to make sure people understand what happened here was a tragedy. We don’t want it to happen again and it’s not a 30 second soundbite,” Driscoll said.
The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on Wednesday evening on two articles of impeachment against the president. If the vote passes, Trump will become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.