A congressman from Salem has taken issue with Donald Trump’s claim that he is the victim of the single greatest witch hunt in American history.
The president struck a defiant tone on Thursday as he hit back at claims that he asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser.
“The entire thing has been a witch hunt and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign – but I can always speak for myself – and the Russians. Zero,” he told the news conference.
Mr Trump was echoing a complaint that he made earlier on Twitter when he criticised the naming of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel.
“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!” Mr Trump wrote on Thursday morning. He did not offer any evidence of such acts in his reference to former Democratic President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Mr Trump tweeted.
Representative Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Salem, Massachusetts, responded succinctly on Twitter. “As the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false,” he said.
Salem is famously known for one of America’s darkest chapters in history. Farcical trials were held as people were accused of witchcraft between February 1692 and May 1693.
More than 200 were accused and five died in custody. Nineteen were hanged, including George Burroughs, the former minister to Salem Village.
In 1957, the state of Massachusetts formally apologised for the trials. In 2001, the last of the condemned was exonerated by the Massachusetts legislature. The name “Salem witch trial” remains a byword for a hysterical and unjust legal process.