On Sunday night, CNN’s Don Lemon ended a diatribe against President Donald Trump by asking the president, “What is it about President Obama that really gets under your skin?” He suggested Obama is smarter than Trump, didn’t need his father’s help, and has a more accomplished and attractive wife. Oh, and he suggested the real reason may just be that Trump is racist.
“What is it about President Obama that really gets under your skin?” Lemon asked. “Is it because he’s smarter than you? Better educated? Made it on his own? Didn’t need daddy’s help? Wife is more accomplished? Better looking? I don’t know. What is it? What is it about him? That he’s a black man that’s accomplished? That he pumped you on the whole birth certificate thing? What is it about him? Just wondering.”
This shameless insult came after five minutes of a diatribe against the president, slamming him as heartless and ineffective during the coronavirus crisis.
“He just can’t seem to muster the kind of compassion that we need from our president,” Lemon said.
The CNN host faulted Trump for “retweeting an utterly absurd claim by a conspiracy theorist that the former President Obama was behind what he calls the Russia hoax. This is really a new low.”
Lemon called the idea “obviously completely untrue,” and “a disturbed fantasy.”
The article Trump retweeted does seem a stretch. David J. Harris Jr. took part of a recently unsealed FBI document involving Michael Flynn and tried to use it to connect Barack Obama personally to the Trump-Russia investigation.
It remains unclear just how involved Obama was personally in the Trump-Russia investigation. FBI lawyer Lisa Page texted Peter Strzok that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing,” which certainly suggests some kind of involvement. It seems far more plausible, however, that Obama’s partisan appointees — like then-CIA Director John Brennan — directed the Trump-Russia investigation in part to help Obama’s hand-picked successor win the 2016 election.
Regardless of the truth of this particular claim, the Obama administration’s actions against the Trump campaign are a tremendous scandal and more than enough reason for Trump to harbor a grudge against the former president. While the president arguably should not have retweeted that article, Trump-Russia is the real scandal, not the tweet.
Lemon, however, characterized the tweet as “nothing but a shameless attempt to distract from your administration’s mishandling” of the coronavirus crisis. He then went on to contrast Trump’s tweet about Obama with former President George W. Bush’s video message about the coronavirus.
In that video message, Bush called for Americans to put their partisan differences aside to fight the virus — a noble sentiment. Fox News host Pete Hegseth asked where Bush was during the impeachment battle.
“Oh, by the way, I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside?” Hegseth asked. Trump quoted the Fox News host in a tweet, saying Bush was “nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!”
.@PeteHegseth “Oh bye the way, I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside.” @foxandfriends He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2020
While Trump is exaggerating by calling the Democrats’ impeachment effort “the greatest Hoax in American history,” he is correct to suggest it was a partisan smear.
Lemon, however, cited the tweet and then accused Trump of doing nothing to fight the coronavirus at the time.
“The president’s impeachment trial ended in his acquittal on February 5. The very next day, the first American died of the coronavirus. More than 60,000 Americans have died since then,” the CNN host said. “How about thinking about them for a change instead of nursing your grudges? How about showing some compassion?”
This question is rather ironic, considering it was the Democrats who pushed impeachment and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who delayed it by refusing to hand over the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate right after the House had voted on them. While Democrats were pushing impeachment, the Trump administration had issued travel advisories for Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, in January. Due to China’s lies and malfeasance, the world did not know the true extent of the danger, but the Trump administration acted early against the threat.
President Trump has worked tirelessly to help Americans in this crisis, championing bipartisan relief efforts in Congress and signing them quickly — even as Democrats repeatedly obstructed these efforts in an attempt to push their pet projects and never let a good crisis go to waste. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has called the coronavirus crisis a “wake-up call” on climate change and an “opportunity” for “structural change” on voting and climate change.
Don Lemon played a clip showing Obama’s compassion for Americans during the crisis. In that very video, however, the former president insisted that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) socialist ideas are “critical” to “rebuilding our economy” after the coronavirus crisis.
I would prefer that Trump avoid political attacks during the crisis, but his opponents have made it clear they absolutely will not. At least Trump isn’t trying to use the crisis as an “opportunity” for “structural change.” He’s more focused on the delicate balance between public health and a struggling economy.
Perhaps President Obama “gets under Trump’s skin” because the left-leaning media, Hollywood, and other elites fawn over him, deliberately ignore his scandals, and act like he can do no wrong. Trump is far from perfect, but he represents the forgotten man in part because people like Obama relentlessly mocked him.
Don Lemon’s personal diatribe is itself a case in point: Is Obama really smarter than Trump? He’s certainly more polished — but how would he fare against an obsessively hostile media and political establishment? Is Obama’s wife really prettier than Melania? That’s a matter of opinion. As for Trump being racist, we already know how Don Lemon treats black pastors who disagree with that tired talking point.
One thing is for certain: Don Lemon really, really hates Trump.
Damn, Don. pic.twitter.com/7WJXuV8tn4
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) May 4, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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