Don Lemon, the CNN anchor who in January called Donald Trump a “racist,” refused on Friday night to back down from those statements, telling an audience that it’s his “obligation” to say such things.
As Huffington Post reports, Lemon was addressing Variety‘s Entertainment & Technology Summit in New York, when, during a question and answer session, the host reminded him of the January remarks. Specifically, Lemon had opened his show by saying, “This is ‘CNN Tonight,’ I’m Don Lemon, the President of the United States is racist.” The host then asked Lemon if he had planned it that way. Earlier that day, Trump had made headlines by saying that Haiti and certain African countries were “s**thole countries.”
Lemon made no apologies.
“It’s tough when you have more respect for the office than the person who’s sitting in the office.”
Lemon then provided a list of things Trump has said and done, both in office as president and before, that supported Lemon’s assertion that Trump is racist. Lemon mentioned Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., allegations of housing discrimination in his real-estate dealings, portraying Mexicans as “drug dealers and rapists,” and, calling white supremacists present at the Charlottesville as “very fine people,” and of course, the “s**thole” remark.
“I feel it’s my obligation as a journalist to say it. And I don’t regret it.”
The host then asked Lemon if he heard back from the president. Lemon simply answered, “No.”
Don Lemon has no regrets about calling Donald Trump a racist. https://t.co/B1D9aJIfcr
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) May 5, 2018
Back in January, when Lemon made the controversial statement, Trump had hours earlier called several countries “s**hole countries.” As CNN reported at the time, Trump was behind a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, discussing changes to the visa lottery program. When the subject turned towards the program’s impact on places like Haiti and certain African countries, sources familiar with the meeting say Trump had this to say.
“Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”
He then allegedly wondered aloud why the U.S. didn’t get more immigrants from places like Norway.
Don Lemon is not the first person to boldly attack Trump and refuse to apologize for getting called out for it. Perhaps most famously, comedian tweeted a photo of herself holding a prop decapitated Donald Trump head. As The New York Post reported last week, Griffin apologized – sort of – for the post, and then un-apologized.
“By the way, I take the apology back. F**k him.”