CNN anchor Don Lemon has spoken out about the backlash of his CNN panel mocking Trump supporters, claiming he was only laughing ‘at the joke’ and ‘not at any group of people’.
The host went on the defensive on Tuesday night after a discussion in which he and two guests appeared to make fun of Trump’s ‘credulous boomer rube’ supporters went viral.
Lemon faced immediate backlash from the segment in which he can be seen laughing uncontrollably while his guests put on southern accents and claim MAGA voters don’t know geography.
CNN’s Don Lemon addressed the backlash from a viral clip in which he could be seen laughing at guests mocking Trump supporters stating that he ‘didn’t catch everything that was said’
Lemon addressed the now viral panel discussion on his show on Tuesday night, claiming that he ‘didn’t catch everything that was said’ and that he doesn’t ‘believe in belittling people’.
‘This is personally important for me to address this, OK? Ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you – I don’t believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, what they believe, or where they’re from,’ Lemon said towards the top of his show.
‘During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment, I found that joke humorous. And I didn’t catch everything that was said.
‘Just to make it perfectly clear, I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people.’
Donald Trump slammed Don Lemon as the ‘dumbest man on television’ after the CNN host and two guests – Wajahat Ali (left) and Rick Wilson (right) on his show mocked the President
Lemon laughed hysterically throughout the segment and, at one point, wiped tears from his eyes as his guests put on accents to mock Trump and his supporters
The backlash came after the CNN host started crying with laughter when his two guests – Republican strategist Rick Wilson and NYT columnist Wajahat Ali – suggested Trump’s supporters were uneducated and couldn’t point out countries on a map.
Criticism of Lemon and CNN was swift, with Trump and his daughter Ivanka among those lashing out.
The panel, which originally aired on Saturday, was discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testy interview with an NPR reporter about Ukraine and ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Following the interview, the reporter said Pompeo cursed at her and repeatedly ‘used the F-word’ and asked her: ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’
Both of Lemon’s guests were critical of Pompeo’s response to the interview and put on accents as they mocked Trump and his supporters.
‘(Pompeo) knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter ‘U’ and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it,’ Wilson said.
‘He knows that this is an administration defined by ignorance of the world. That’s partly him playing to their base and to their audience, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump that wants to think that ‘Donald Trump’s the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb!’.’
Ali also joined in saying: ‘You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling… your readin’, your geography, knowin’ other countries. Only them elitists know where Ukraine is.’
Lemon laughed hysterically throughout the segment and, at one point, wiped tears from his eyes.
‘That was a good one. I needed that,’ Lemon said.
In his response statement on Tuesday night, Lemon did not make clear which specific joke he was referring to when he claimed he was just laughing ‘at the joke’, the first abut Trump or the second about MAGA supporters.
Later in the show, Lemon went on to defend journalists who ‘get it wrong’.
‘We’re not perfect. When we get it wrong, we say we got it wrong, we apologize, and we move on,’ he added.
President Trump had spearheaded the backlash against Lemon, lashing out at the CNN host in a tweet on Tuesday over the mocking panel segment that aired on Lemon’s show at the weekend.
‘Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television (with terrible ratings!),’ Trump tweeted with a clip of the CNN segment.
His daughter Ivanka Trump also weighed in by tweeting: ‘You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided. The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation’s ‘Real Elites’ is disgusting’.
His son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted: ‘These media hacks don’t just hate the President, they hate the Americans who support him. No wonder their ratings are so low, they find it funny to mock regular, everyday Americans. November is coming, & those Americans will once again have the last laugh’.
Meghan McCain, who has been critical of Trump also weighed in, saying: ‘You can’t complain about the country being divided and then blatantly exhibit such sheer disgust at the side you disagree with. All Trump has to do is clip this from @CNN and he had a very effective ad for 2020’.
Congressman Ken Buck tweeted: ‘I’m disappointed to see this kind of smug rhetoric from Don Lemon and his guests. Painting a majority of Americans as illiterate and uneducated ‘rubes’ is low, even for CNN.’