Speaking with fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo, Lemon criticized the commander in chief for holding campaign rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic and said his Trump-supporting friends still see nothing wrong with this.
"They have every single talking point that they hear on state TV and that they hear from this president, they repeat it and they're blinded by it," he said.
Lemon then explained to Cuomo why he had to "get rid of" some of his friends.
"I had to get rid of them because they're too far gone. I try and I try and I try, they say something really stupid and then I'll show them the science and I'll give them the information, and they still repeat those talking points."He went on to compare Trump supporters to drug addicts, suggesting those supportive of the president need to be left to "hit rock bottom" in order to realize how wrong they are.
Much like those addicted to substances, Lemon argued, Trump supporters "have to want to get help" in order to accept reality when it comes to issues such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The anchor concluded that if "they're willing to live in reality, then I would welcome them with open arms."
As Fox News noted, Lemon has previously made controversial remarks about Trump supporters.
In August, he came under fire for opining that those who back the commander in chief are suffering from "cognitive dissonance." Before that, in January, he was criticized for laughing while some on his panel denounced Americans who voted for Trump as "credulous rubes."
Lemon's Thursday remarks prompted outrage on the right, with commentators slamming the anchor for making the comments.
In a tweet, co-founder of The Federalist, Sean Davis, mocked Lemon for seemingly implying that him severing ties with acquaintances would make them hit rock bottom.
The Daily Wire reporter Harry Khachatrian argued that it was wrong of Lemon to even suggest political differences are a good reason to end a friendship.Research suggests the national conversation about COVID-19 has been colored by partisan politics. As Axios reported, a Quinnipiac poll found that 51 percent of Republicans trust Trump over Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists.
In the same survey, 97 percent of Democratic respondents said they trust the CDC, while only 1 percent of them said they trust Trump.
Similarly, an Axios-Ipsos coronavirus poll conducted in June established that mask-wearing has become a political issue, with Democrats supporting the practice and Republicans opposing it.
Public health experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, have spoken out in favor of a national mask mandate.