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Michael Eric Dyson says Joe Biden paid the debt owed to black Americans by picking a black man for secretary of defense


Don Lemon got the man's name wrong during the segment

Michael Eric Dyson (CBS via Getty Images)

CNN's Don Lemon and his guest praised former Vice President Joe Biden for reportedly picking a black man for secretary of defense because it was a way of paying the "debt" that he owed to black Americans.

Lemon was speaking to progressive minister Michael Eric Dyson when they both marveled at reports that Biden had picked retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin for the powerful position. Austin would be the first black man to lead the Pentagon.

"This defense secretary thing is big, with Gen. Michael Austin, what do you think?" Lemon asked, while getting the retired four-star general's name wrong.

"Oh, it's beautiful! Look, have you ever heard a president say before, I owe you," Dyson responded.

"Yeah," Lemon agreed.

"I owe you a debt, you hooked me up, I'm hooking you up, I've never heard a president, I've studied presidential rhetoric," Dyson continued.

"I've studied presidents' interactions with black America, I've never heard that, and so the attempt to follow up and to follow through by President-elect Joe Biden is worthy of note. And I think he's been doing a very good job so far," he added.

"You have to balance all the considerations of the competing interests that are vying for your time and representation," Dyson said. "But I think black people are well deserved, and this choice of Gen. Austin today is truly outstanding."

Neither Lemon nor Dyson made time to discuss Austin's career or all of his qualifications for the position, but Dyson made sure to market his new book about racial inequality to the CNN audience. Lemon also admitted during the segment that he incorrectly named Austin.

Dyson went on to say that having Justice Clarence Thomas, a black man, on the Supreme Court didn't count as real minority representation because he wasn't liberal in his thinking.

While Lemon and Dyson praised Biden for picking a man with the skin color they preferred, some progressive far-left Democrats decried the pick over Austin's ties to a defense contractor.

"A sitting board member of military industrial contractor Raytheon should NOT be heading the Pentagon. Terrible choice. I hope progessives [sic] in Congress will speak up loudly," former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson said.

Here's the video of the interaction between Lemon and Dyson:

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