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Lawmaker from Salem tells Trump he can think of a worse 'witch hunt'

 (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

In the early morning hours Thursday, President Trump tweeted an accusation:

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

"This" being the appointment of a special counsel to the Russia investigation that has vexed his presidency from the near-beginning.

Trump reiterated the claim hours later during a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

One person who disagrees with the president? Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) of Salem — home to arguably the greatest actual witch hunt in American history.

"I can confirm that this is false," he tweeted about Trump's statement.

Some back story.

About 200 people were accused of witchcraft and about 20 were executed during the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693. The events were immortalized in Arthur Miller's 1953 play "The Crucible" and more recently in the 1993 children's film "Hocus Pocus." 

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary's website, the first written use of the term "witch hunt" dates to a December 1878 edition of the Tamworth Herald, a newspaper in England.

It wasn't until the early 1920s that the term took a more figurative meaning, often in reference to political opponents.

Searches for the term on Merriam-Webster's site have spiked by more than 8,000% since Trump's tweet.

In recent months, Merriam-Webster has routinely fact-checked, and sometimes corrected, Trump's off-kilter phrases and word choices.

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