CNN’s Don Lemon addressed why he was laughing during a CNN segment over the weekend that Donald Trump’s allies seized upon as an example of how the media elite mocks and belittles Trump supporters.
On his show on Tuesday, Lemon said, “I don’t believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, for what they believe or where they are from. During the middle of an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh, and while in the moment I found that joke humorous, 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.”
In the Saturday segment with guests Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali, Lemon could not contain his laughter as they mocked the president’s “boomer rube” supporters.
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The three were discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s post-interview outburst at NPR host Mary Louise Kelly, in which he challenged her to identify Ukraine on a blank map. Wilson said it was Trump who wouldn’t be able to find it on a map even if “you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it.”
As Lemon started laughing, Wilson continued, “That is part of them playing to their base, playing to their audience, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump.” Wilson then went into a Southern rural accent and said that the demo “wants to think that Donald Trump’s the smart one and you all elitists are dumb.’”
Ali joined in. “You elitists, with your geography and your maps and your spelling,” he said.
“You’re readin’,” Wilson replied.
“You’re readin’. Your geography. Your knowing other countries,” Ali said.
Trump bashed Lemon over the segment, and his daughter Ivanka wrote on Twitter, “You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided. The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation’s ‘Real Elites’ is disgusting.”
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee created an ad out of the CNN segment, tweeting out to followers, “This is what the liberal elites think of you.”
Wilson is a Republican political consultant and a member of the Lincoln Project, a group of conservatives who are working to defeat Trump in November. He has been tweeting out some of the nasty messages and threats he has received since Trump tweeted out a Daily Caller story on the CNN segment.
“I have *hundreds* of those DMs on Twitter/IG. *Particularly* the ones that flood in right after @sebgorka tweets me are obsessed with a) cock, b) anal, c) raping me. I’m trying to identify exactly what strain of economic anxiety and the heartland values they represent. Anyone?” Wilson wrote. Gorka is a former White House adviser to Trump.
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