A Republican lawmaker on Wednesday asserted that Jesus Christ had more due process before his crucifixion than President Donald Trump has received during the House impeachment inquiry.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia was decrying the fact that that the intelligence community whistleblower, whose complaint about Trump’s conversations with Ukraine sparked the impeachment inquiry, was never called to testify when he invoked Jesus during debate over the articles of impeachment on the House floor.
“Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, I want you to keep this in mind: When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” he said.
“During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this President in this process.”
In reality, the House impeachment proceedings bear no resemblance to Jesus’ crucifixion.
According to the New Testament, one of Jesus’ followers arranged for Christ to be arrested. Then, after a series of what the Scripture calls “false witnesses” testified, he was accused of blasphemy. Later, Pilate gave the crowd gathered outside his residence a choice between releasing Jesus or a different prisoner named Barabbas. The crowd chose Barabbas.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters later on Wednesday that she hadn’t seen the comments. “I think the President is being treated very unfairly and I wish that weren’t the case,” she said. “I don’t like many Jesus comparisons.”
Republicans have long argued that the intelligence community whistleblower should have to testify. Democrats say the whistleblower’s testimony is not needed because Trump’s public statements and the testimony from other witnesses largely corroborated what the whistleblower alleged.
Loudermilk isn’t the only Republican to use examples of injustice through history to attack the impeachment process. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, Trump claimed that “(m)ore due process was afforded” to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials wherein 19 innocent men and women were killed after being accused of witchcraft in the late 1600s.
The House has spent 84 days investigating Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine and held multiple public hearings with expert witnesses who testified under oath about their experiences through an impeachment process that is enshrined in the US Constitution. Trump and his legal team declined to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s portion of the inquiry. Should the House vote to impeach Trump, he would face a multi-week trial in the Senate, which will then decide whether to convict or acquit him on two articles of impeachment.
CNN’s Haley Byrd, Jamie Ehrlich and Kyle Feldscher contributed to this report.