Thursday turned out to be a day of firsts for cable news, as Donald Trump’s latest racist remarks meant that the word “shithole” was splashed across the screen on CNN and MSNBC for the majority of the day, even as various hosts tried to grapple with whether to say it aloud. CNN host Don Lemon took a different approach, ripping into Trump in unprecedented fashion at the top of his show, and then throwing a Trump apologist off the air before the show was over.
Don Lemon began his show by saying “This is CNN tonight. I’m Don Lemon. The President of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.” After that stunning opening, Lemon later went on to lead a panel of four guests. Among them was conservative host John Fredericks, who kept saying one racist and insulting thing after another. Fredericks’ remarks became so inappropriate that another Republican on the panel, Rick Wilson, began laughing derisively at him to signal his own disapproval. Finally, Lemon threw Fredericks off the show and continued with the other panelists.
Lemon wasn’t the only cable news host to take Trump’s head off on Thursday. Anderson Cooper also called Trump’s remarks “racist.” Various hosts on MSNBC took Trump to task in similar fashion as the evening went on.
But it was Don Lemon who received the most attention for the manner in which he opened his show, and the manner in which he dispensed with the racist Trump apologist. Shortly thereafter, Lemon’s name became the top trending topic on Twitter and remained there late into the evening.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report