CNN host Don Lemon, the host of “CNN Tonight," spoke at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit in New York City on Friday, where he was confronted about calling President Donald Trump a racist.
What did he say?
Lemon’s comment stems from Trump’s statement about some countries being “s***holes."
“It's tough when you have more respect for the office than the person who's sitting in the office,” Lemon said. “All you have to do is look at the evidence.”
He went on to list what he called evidence, such Trump’s insistence that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and comments about immigrants from Mexcio who are “rapists.” Lemon also mentioned Trump's comments on the Charlottesville protesters, who he described as “fine people.”
“Critical thinking is important as a journalist,” Lemon said. "And if you cannot surmise that this president — if he's not racist, he is certainly racist adjacent. If you have the evidence that shows you, that indicates, that leads you to nothing else but this president being racist, then I feel it's my obligation as a journalist to say it.”
“On that night, I said it, and I don't regret saying it,” Lemon said. “I believe that to be true.”
How did this start?
Trump came under fire in January following a White House meeting on immigration. Some lawmakers were seeking protection for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa during negotiations on a bipartisan immigration deal.
"Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?" Trump reportedly said.
Trump had recently met with the prime minister of Norway and suggested more immigrants from that country might be a good idea. He also said immigrants from Asian countries would be acceptable because they are likely to help the U.S. economy.
“Those comments are, frankly, disgusting,” Lemon said at the time. “They're not shocking, not even really surprising, because this is who Donald Trump is — this is what he thinks.”
Lemon also called Trump a racist.