Liberal CNN host Don Lemon told President Trump’s voters Wednesday they were tarred by their association with objectionable people who backed his candidacy, including Ku Klux Klan members and Capitol rioters, urging them “to think about the side you’re on.”
Lemon made the remarks during the nightly changeover to his program from fellow liberal host Chris Cuomo, where the two often free-associate on the news of the day. Cuomo said a narrative was forming that Trump voters could argue that “you can’t say that everybody who voted for Trump is like the people who went into the Capitol,” referring to the pro-Trump mob that stormed the building in a deadly melee last week.
“If you are on that side, you need to think about the side you’re on,” Lemon said. “I am never on the side of the Klan. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Klan side. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Nazi side. Principled people who are conservative or liberal, never on the side that treats their fellow Americans as less than, that says your fellow Americans should not exist … that sides with slavery.”
CNN’S DON LEMON SAYS ANTI-POLICE VIOLENCE OF 2020 BUILT ON ‘FACTS’ SO ‘YOU CAN’T COMPARE’ TO CAPITOL RIOT
“And if they say, ‘I don’t agree with those people, I just like Trump’s policies’?” Cuomo asked.
“Then get out of the crowd with them,” Lemon said. “If you voted for Trump, you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers … You voted on that side, and the people in Washington are continuing to vote on that side.”
Critics slammed Lemon for the remarks, including conservative radio host Ben Shapiro, who called it “vile” and said they undermined unity.
The smearing of Trump voters comes amid continued fallout for Trump after the deadly riot at the Capitol that left five dead, including a police officer.
Trump won more than 74 million votes in the 2020 election, the second-most by any presidential candidate in history, but well behind the record 81 million by President-elect Joe Biden. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday on a charge of “incitement of insurrection,” alleging he charged up his supporters to attack the Capitol building with false claims of massive fraud and pressure on Republicans to overturn the results.
Shapiro wrote in Politico on Thursday that Republicans felt they were being pressed to support impeachment as part of an effort to “cudgel them collectively by lumping them in” with the far-right Capitol rioters.
“My Republican sources tell me that opposition to impeachment doesn’t spring from generalized sanguinity over Trump’s behavior: I’ve been receiving calls and texts for more than a week from elected Republicans heartsick over what they saw in the Capitol,” he wrote.
“Opposition to impeachment comes from a deep and abiding conservative belief that members of the opposing political tribe want their destruction, not simply to punish Trump for his behavior. Republicans believe that Democrats and the overwhelmingly liberal media see impeachment as an attempt to cudgel them collectively by lumping them in with the Capitol rioters thanks to their support for Trump.”
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Lemon also objected Tuesday to any comparison between far-left riots last summer over police conduct and criminal justice and last week’s, saying the former were protests based on “facts.” Amid criticism at the time of Democratic and liberal media silence on the violence and rioting that gripped major cities at the time, Cuomo said that protests did not need to be “polite and peaceful.”
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Lemon and Cuomo have also defended the violent, far-left group Antifa, with Lemon at one point saying their thuggish behavior was justified because their mission was “right in the name: Antifa, antifascism, which was what they were fighting.”