Former President Donald Trump cheered the demise of Don Lemon, asking why it took so long for CNN to fire “the dumbest man on television” – but said he was “shocked” that Tucker Carlson was out at Fox News.
“Good News: ‘The dumbest man on television,’ Don Lemon, has finally been fired from Fake News CNN. My only question is, WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?” Trump said on Truth Social late Monday.
The 45th president’s comments came shortly after the longtime CNN anchor claimed on Twitter that he had been blindsided by news of his ouster after 17 years with the network.
In 2019, Trump ripped into Lemon for accusing him of bigotry during a Democratic presidential debate.
“CNN’s Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television, insinuated last night while asking a debate ‘question’ that I was a racist, when in fact I am ‘the least racist person in the world,’” Trump tweeted.
“Perhaps someone should explain to Don that he is supposed to be neutral, unbiased & fair, or is he too dumb (stupid} to understand that. No wonder CNN’s ratings (MSNBC’s also) have gone down the tubes — and will stay there until they bring credibility back to the newsroom. Don’t hold your breath!” he added at the time.
Three years earlier, Trump called Lemon a “lightweight – dumb as a rock.”
Lemon, who is black, responded by accusing Trump of using a racist trope.
“The president has called a lot of people stupid. Some of those people are white,” he said on the air. “But I would just like to note that referring to an African American as dumb — remember this is America — is one of the oldest canards of America’s racist past and present: that black people are of inferior intelligence.”
In September, Trump mocked Lemon for being moved to the mornings from his primetime show.
“A small step for television, a giant step for mankind. Don Lemon, often called ‘the dumbest man on television’ having made even Lebron James look smart during their interview two years ago, has been FIRED from his prime time evening spot on CNN — extremely low ratings — and will be thrown into their ‘Death Valley’ morning show,” he wrote.
“I assume this means a BIG salary cut prior to his Complete & Total future firing from Ratings Challenged (to put it mildly!) CNN. Good luck Don, you’ll need it! MAGA!!!” Trump added.
On Monday, Lemon said in a tweet: “I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned after 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have the decency to tell me directly.
“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” he added.
But CNN fired back: “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
Former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also slammed Lemon, calling him “mean, misogynist and unrepentant” during an appearance with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday.
“I want you to understand this because this is the difference between Don Lemon and [Hannity] and other people, he was always unprepared,” she said, adding that he had “screamed” at his morning co-host Kaitlin Collins.
She said CNN CEO Chris Licht showed “some moxie” for the first time by firing Lemon.
Meanwhile, Trump told Newsmax host Greg Kelly that he was “shocked” to hear that Carlson was out at Fox News.
“I’m shocked, I’m surprised. He’s a very good person and very good man. And very talented, as you know, he had very high ratings. So, we’re just learning about it almost as we speak … that was something, that’s a big one,” he said.“I don’t know if it was voluntary, or was it somebody fired? But I think Tucker has been terrific. He’s been, especially over the last year or so, he’s been terrific to me,” added Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the 2024 presidential election.
Fox News said it had “agreed to part ways” with Carlson, who hosted “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. weeknights.
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” the network said in a statement Monday.
The announcement came days after Fox News’ parent company settled Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million.
The lawsuit had accused Fox News of airing false election claims and conspiracy theories in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
On April 11, Trump sat down for an interview with Carlson after his unprecedented arrest in Manhattan, where he was arraigned on 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection to “hush money” payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal..
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