Update: The president is crying "witch hunt" on Twitter yet again, this time in response to the news that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice. Luckily, Twitter users stepped in to remind us all of that little hunt that went down in Salem, which we'd also argue is probably, technically, the single greatest witch hunt in our history. We've added some of the latest responses here.
This article was originally published on May 18, 2017.
As is his wont, President Trump took to Twitter today, this time to decry the launch of a special counsel to investigate his campaign's possible ties to Russia. "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history," he wrote, punctuating his statement with an exclamation point.
The good people of Twitter were quick to point out that, in the most objective sense, Trump was mistaken in his claim. The most magical users reminded him that the greatest witch hunt in history actually went down back in the 17th century in Salem, Massachusetts.
A quick history lesson: Between 1692 and 1693, 150 people (mostly women) were accused of witchcraft, which was a huge deal in Puritan New England. Those who ended up on trial faced ruined reputations, imprisonment, and execution. It's from this moment in history that we got the term "witch hunt." And yes, it has been used to describe political conflicts in the past (see: McCarthyism, birtherism) — but we'd argue that in the contest of the greatest "witch hunt" in American history, this investigation probably doesn't hold up.