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Salem Mayor Hits Back at Trump's Witch Trial Remarks

Comparing impeachment proceedings to what happened in 1692 is 'offensive'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2019 2:48 PM CST

(Newser) – The mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, said President Trump needs to "learn some history" after he claimed those accused in the city's infamous 17th century witch trials received more due process than he has as he faces impeachment, the AP reports. Democratic Mayor Kim 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 during a frenzy stoked by superstition, fear of disease and strangers, and jealousy. Nineteen were hanged, and one man was crushed by rocks. The allegations against Trump, in contrast, 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. Trump made the witch trial claim in his six-page letter to Nancy Pelosi Tuesday, but he's also frequently dismissed investigations into his administration as “witch hunts.”

(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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