In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump attacked CNN Anchor Don Lemon, calling him "the dumbest man on television."
The president lashed out after the CNN host asked a question during CNN's Tuesday night Democratic Party primary debate in Detroit in which he said the president's 2020 campaign strategy relied on "creating racial division."
"President Trump is pursuing a re-election strategy based in part, on racial division," Lemon said. "How do you convince primary voters that you'd be the best nominee to take on President Trump and heal the racial divide in America?"
The question was asked to former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas and former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, per HuffPost.
In the tweets where the president lambasted Lemon, Trump repeated his claim that he is "the least racist person in the world" — a claim he first made after previous comments targeting four freshman congresswoman known as "the squad."
All members of the squad are women of color, and three of the four were born in the United States, though flack came when the president directed the women to "go back" to their ancestral countries if they disliked his policies.
Reaction to those tweets was swift, as many called the comments racist. The House passed a resolution two days after condemning the president's remarks, though the president and members of his administration have insisted that he is not racist.
Calls that Trump is racist resumed following another series of tweets last weekend in which the president targeted Maryland Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings. Trump targeted Cummings' Baltimore district, calling it "infested" with rodents and bugs. An emotional CNN anchor from Baltimore pointed to a pattern of tweets from the president that referred to areas with high populations of minority residents as "infested," per a previous report from The Inquisitr.
CNN media analyst Brian Stelter took to Twitter to say that the president's attacks on Lemon put journalists at risk.The president wondered if Lemon, who is black, was too "stupid" to know he was supposed to be unbiased and neutral as a journalist. Trump also said that ratings for CNN and MSNBC, which are both viewed as more liberal than the president's favorite Fox News, had "gone down the tubes."
As TV Newser reported, CNN has reported year-over-year losses in cable news rankings, coming in third place behind Fox News and MSNBC in its prime time news coverage. The network did receive a bump during Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate, though as The Los Angeles Times noted, the ratings were more modest than the first set of debates that aired earlier in July on NBC News. The ratings were also down from CNN's first debate in 2016, per The Los Angeles Times.
Following the president's attacks on Lemon, former Rep. O'Rourke responded on Twitter reaffirming his stance that the president is racist.The second of the two-night debate event will air on CNN at 8 p.m. The CNN anchors who moderated the first debate, which include Lemon, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, are expected to moderate Wednesday's debate as well, per The Wrap.