A young man appeared with Don Lemon on CNN and excoriated his own grandfather as a racist on account of his age, race, and Christian beliefs.
On Thursday, Klint Ludwig, 28, appeared with Don Lemon on CNN's morning show to discuss his grandfather, 84-year-old Andrew Lester. On the night of April 13, Lester allegedly shot Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old black kid, after Yarl reportedly either rang the doorbell at or attempted to enter Lester's residence in Kansas City, Missouri, mistaking it for someone else's home. Yarl, who is recovering from gunshot injuries to his head and arm, later denied trying to enter the residence and claimed that Lester warned him, "Don't come around here."
Lester has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He pled not guilty and told police that he was "scared to death" that Yarl — who is younger, bigger, and stronger than he is — was trying to break into his home. He said that shooting Yarl was "the last thing he wanted to do."
Yarl's family and his attorneys have argued that Lester was motivated by racial animus to shoot Yarl. Klint Ludwig, Lester's grandson, wholeheartedly agrees. Ludwig told Lemon that his grandfather harbors "racist tendencies and beliefs." When Lemon pressed him to explain his reasoning, Ludwig pointed to his grandfather's demographics.
"He’s just a stock, American, Christian male. [He's] older, you know, that’s just how they are," Ludwig replied.
Ludwig's comments appeared to make Lemon either uncomfortable or curious because he continued to press for more specifics. Ludwig obliged by claiming that his grandfather is an adamant supporter of former President Donald Trump, that he regularly watches Fox News, and that he backs "Stand Your Ground" laws such as those in Missouri and Florida.
"I feel like a lot of people of that generation are caught up in this 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia perpetuated by some other news stations," Ludwig told Lemon. "And he was fully into that, sitting and watching Fox News all day, every day blaring in his living room.
"And I think that stuff really kind of reinforces this negative view of minority groups and leads people to be all — that doesn’t necessarily lead people to be racist, but it reinforces and galvanizes racist people," Ludwig added.
Ludwig later claimed that Lester had also fallen prey to "conspiracies" regarding QAnon and the 2020 presidential election. He also claimed that Lester evinced racist tendencies by commenting on the abortion rates among black women, but did not explain why such comments were racist. According to data released by the CDC, at 39%, black women represented the largest ethnic or racial group of women who abort their unborn children in 2020.
When Lemon asked why Ludwig was willing to denounce his own grandfather on TV as a racist, Ludwig claimed, "It's the right thing to do." He insisted that Yarl "deserves justice." "In this country, it happens over and over again where people get away with killing unarmed innocent black people," Ludwig asserted. Ludwig also credited controversial race activist Sean King with making his grandfather's case a national story.
Daniel Ludwig, Klint's brother and another of Lester's grandsons, has elsewhere stood up for his grandfather, claiming that Lester's side of the story hasn't been reported and that the characterization of Lester as a racist is unfair. While Klint Ludwig stated that his brother was entitled to his opinions, he disagreed with them. Klint Ludwig told Lemon that there had long been "warning signs" about his grandfather's latent racism.
"I wasn't shocked when I heard the news," Klint Ludwig claimed. Ludwig also added that he and his grandfather, who once had a close relationship, had since become estranged from one another. "I think that it was more his choice than mine," Ludwig said.
The entire exchange between Ludwig and Lemon can be viewed below:
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