Surely, when "CNN Tonight" host Don Lemon invited anti-Trump Republican Rick Wilson and New York Times writer Wajahat Ali on his program, the last thing that crossed his mind was that their appearance would boost Republicans' 2020 prospects. Yet, that's exactly what may have happened after the trio mocked supporters of the president as uneducated hillbillies.
On Tuesday evening, the Republican National Committee launched a new ad in response to Lemon, Wilson, and Ali ridiculing the 63 million voters who backed President Trump in 2016.
"Look ... [Pompeo] knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn't find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it," Wilson said as Lemon and Ali began laughing uncontrollably.
"He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world, and so that's partly him playing to their base and playing to their audience," Wilson continued, describing the president's supporters as "the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump, that wants to think that 'Donald Trump's the smart one, and y'all — y'all elitists are dumb.'"
Ali then joined in on the mockery with a fake southern accent: "You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling ... your reading ... knowing other countries ... sipping your latte."
'They Think You're a Joke'
The segment was heavily criticized by political observers, especially conservatives who said the trio's remarks exposed what elite Democrats truly think of rural Americans and could even bolster the president's re-election efforts. Even liberal commentator Soledad O'Brien blasted it as "not being worthy of being on a newscast."
Wilson and Ali's mockery of small-town conservatives as ignorant may have brought out tears of laughter in Don Lemon, but it seems like Republicans will have the last laugh at CNN's expense with the RNC turning the segment into a commercial.
The one-minute ad features clips of the three men laughing at conservatives, along with Hillary Clinton's infamous "basket of deplorables" comment and remarks from other prominent Democrats — namely Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden — disparaging supporters of President Trump.
The CNN segment then begins to fade as the words "They think you're a joke" appear on the screen in large white letters, concluding with "Prove them wrong in November."