Don Lemon Rants Over Trump Calling Rioters ‘Thugs,’ Cries Racism

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On a discussion on Friday’s The Situation Room about the Minneapolis riots, CNN’s Don Lemon went on a rant against President Donald Trump for calling the rioters “thugs,” and suggested that the peaceful conservative protesters in Michigan were just as bad or worse.

Lemon also spoke sympathetically about the rioters, declaring that he would not “judge” them even though he disagreed with their actions.

 

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At 5:35 p.m. Eastern, chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta got things warmed up as he warned that President Trump’s choice of words would risk inspiring violence and linked President Trump calling illegal immigrant caravans an “invasion” to the attack on an El Paso Wal-Mart in 2019.

After Acosta complained about Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet, Lemon jumped in and fretted about the President labeling arsonists and looters as “thugs”:

This President traffics in racist and incendiary language all the time. Not only did he say, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” but look at the other tweets that we put up — and I don’t know if we have them at the ready now. “Thugs,” where he called people “thugs.”

The CNN anchor — who was appearing as a guest on the show — then strangely suggested that Trump should not have called them “thugs” because some of them were white:

Well, guess what, he’s calling a whole lot of people thugs because it was not only African-Americans who were in that crowd of protesters. Many of them, if not most of them from the pictures that I’ve seen, are of different ethnicities — there are a lot of white people in that crowd — in the crowd as well. So he’s calling not only African-Americans which may be a dog whistle for some people in his base — he’s calling a whole lot of people “thugs.”

He then moved to portraying the Michigan demonstrators as violent even though, in contrast with the Minneapolis rioters, there was no arson or looting:

That did not happen when we saw the 99.9 percent of people who were on state houses protesting, spitting in police officers’ faces, burning flags, and wanting to liberate and open up the country. He said that those were good people who cared about their country — they were good Americans. They were breaking rules and also putting people’s health at risk. And so I don’t understand the difference between those “good people” who want to liberate because they want a haircut or they’re tired of sitting on their couches, and they’re armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons, so I don’t understand the difference between protesters.

Lemon then admitted that some of the protesters in Minneapolis had been violent, but sympathized with them anyway:

Listen, this got out of control in Minneapolis — no doubt about it. No one is condoning the violence. But, again, I understand the anger — I don’t understand the actions. I’m not going to judge people because when you don’t have an outlet, when you don’t have a platform, when you’re upset and you’re angered, people lash out in ways that you or I may not understand. So Ill give them the benefit of the doubt.

In spite of all the time media outlets like CNN have repeatedly misinformed their viewers into believing that nearly all police shooting victims are from one racial group when, in reality all racial groups experience police violence, Lemon showed no self-awareness of the role his profession plays in stoking racial resentment as he concluded by accusing President Trump of “inflaming racial tensions” to appeal to his base.

Below is the relevant transcript:

CNN’s The Situation Room
May 29, 2020
5:35 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: I think it has to be said is that the President, I think, ran the risk and still runs the risk of the possibility that he could lead people to commit acts of violence when he engages in that kind of rhetoric. We’ve seen this before when he referred to the caravan of migrants heading towards the border as an “invasion” in 2018 — we saw a mass shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso. The shooter in that event referred to the President’s use of the term “invasion.” When the President refers to the press as the “enemy of the people,” and then there is attempts of violence aimed at the press, that is a cause and effect.

And I think that is the other realization over here at the White House, Wolf and Don, and that is, the President, when he tweets things like “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” there is the very real risk because we’ve seen this before — it’s happened before. We’re not speculating — it’s happened before. There’s a real possibility that when he tweets something like that, somebody could get shot. And the shooter could potentially say, “I heard this from the President — I saw his tweet — he motivated me to do this,” and it’s not exaggerating things to talk about that possibility because, as we’ve seen, Wolf, it’s happened in the past.

DON LEMON: This President traffics in racist and incendiary language all the time. Not only did he say, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” but look at the other tweets that we put up — and I don’t know if we have them at the ready now. “Thugs,” where he called people “thugs.”

Well, guess what, he’s calling a whole lot of people thugs because it was not only African-Americans who were in that crowd of protesters. Many of them, if not most of them from the pictures that I’ve seen, are of different ethnicities — there are a lot of white people in that crowd — in the crowd as well. So he’s calling not only African-Americans which may be a dog whistle for some people in his base — he’s calling a whole lot of people “thugs.”

That did not happen when we saw the 99.9 percent of people who were on state houses protesting, spitting in police officers’ faces, burning flags, and wanting to liberate and open up the country. He said that those were good people who cared about their country — they were good Americans. They were breaking rules and also putting people’s health at risk. And so I don’t understand the difference between those “good people” who want to liberate because they want a haircut or they’re tired of sitting on their couches, and they’re armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons, so I don’t understand the difference between protesters.

Listen, this got out of control in Minneapolis — no doubt about it. No one is condoning the violence. But, again, I understand the anger — I don’t understand the actions. I’m not going to judge people because when you don’t have an outlet, when you don’t have a platform, when you’re upset and you’re angered, people lash out in ways that you or I may not understand. So Ill give them the benefit of the doubt.

But what I will say to them is: Enough is enough. This takes away from the message. Protest, do it smartly, hold a sign, hold your leaders accountable, do it in that way, but this President, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He is inflaming racial division in this country because he thinks — not only does he think — he knows it works for him in certain circles in his base. That is exactly what has happened.

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