Don Lemon Faces Backlash After Laughing During Segment Mocking Trump Supporters
“Only them elitists know where Ukraine is”
January 29th, 2020 – Don Lemon gained some more fans and foes last weekend after laughing for a solid minute on-air at a joke mocking Trump and his supporters. The CNN Tonight host was filming a segment with Republican strategist and author Rick Wilson, and New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali as they covered the dispute between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly.
Pompeo blew up at Kelly when pressed on questions surrounding Trump’s Ukraine scandal and claimed that the reporter couldn’t find Ukraine on a map when he forced her to identify the country.
“[Pompeo] also 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,” Wilson said. “He knows that this is an administration defined by ignorance of the world. So that’s partly him playing to their base and playing to their audience: the credulous boomer rube demo.”
After the image of a physical crane, Lemon couldn’t keep his composure and laughed throughout the rest of the joke-fest. Wilson and Ali continued making jokes, using fake Southern accents as they mimicked Trump supporters grilling “the elites.”
“You elitists, with your geography and your maps and your spelling,” Ali said.
“Your readin,'” Wilson replied.
“Your readin’. Your geography. Knowing other countries. Sippin’ your latte. Only them elitists know where Ukraine is” Ali went on to say.
People on Twitter quickly began sharing their thoughts.
The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents.— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) January 28, 2020
If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened. pic.twitter.com/8kQ6zN9AZV
the ugly face of Democrats, Never Trumpers, the anti-Trump cult on establishment state TV revealed:— steve hilton (@SteveHiltonx) January 29, 2020
Smug. Hateful. Condescending. Divisive. Bigoted. Arrogant. Elitist. Ignorant. Prejudiced.
they lecture everyone else on civility yet behave like thugshttps://t.co/ooLoJgxG70
I watched it live and yes it’s me laughing! Tell me if @donlemon need to apologize to anyone for laughing at this funny as f joke about U🏗— Skyleigh #GlovesOff📢⏰⚖️ (@Sky_Lee_1) January 29, 2020
Thank you to all that contributed to this hysterical moment🤣pic.twitter.com/poHwg5sZz0
President Trump, who claims to not watch a lot of TV, also chimed in and again called Lemon “the dumbest man on television.”
Trump’s 2020 campaign team quickly took the material and turned it into a re-election ad juxtaposing Lemon and The Hunger Games’ Caesar Flickman.
Liberal “elites” in The Capitol ruling class look down on the people.— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) January 29, 2020
They laugh at you.
They mock you.
They think you don’t matter.
Let’s prove them wrong on November 3rd. pic.twitter.com/THG4HsrUaY
After two days of backlash, Lemon addressed the issue at the top of his Tuesday night show.
“One final note that I have for you, because this is personally important to me to address this,” he began. “Anyone — ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you, I don’t believe in belittling people. Belittling anyone for who they are, for what they believe, or where they’re from. During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment I found the joke humorous, and I didn’t catch everything that was said. Just to make this perfectly clear, I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people.”
Ali and Wilson have also responded to the criticism but defended their comments saying the fake outrage is nothing compared to the attacks that Trump hurls, as well as the threats they receive from his supporters.
Trump tweeted our CNN clip from 2 days ago. Friends are now concerned about my safety. I refuse to be intimidated & bullied by bad faith actors who cry fake victimhood, whining about a harmless, silly 30 second clip while endorsing Trump, a cruel vulgarian who debases everyone.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 28, 2020
“The MAGA world wants the freedom to attack, insult, demean, and abuse anyone who doesn’t aggressively worship Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “They can’t stand anyone who punches back, and hope they can intimidate or shame me.”