The backlash against President Donald Trump's incendiary comments Thursday — calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations "s**tholes," while saying he preferred Norwegians — has been swift on the international scale, as world leaders roundly denounced Trump's comments. And on cable news, while pundits grapple with what this means (and editors grapple with what to publish), one network host is saying that Trump's comments should open him to charges that he is a racist.
CNN's Don Lemon spoke out against Trump, saying that the president's comments (full text below) were part of a larger pattern of racism that went back years.
Lemon said that he and others had been sounding the alarm about Trump's racism since the campaign trail.
Later in the program, Lemon shut down a Trump campaign staffer who said that Trump's comments were "not about race" but instead about "economics." Lemon shut him down — partly because he complained about being cut off.
"We can have this conversation," he said after he got the supporter off the screen, "and we don't need someone who's going to make excuses for racism." Lemon continued, leading a conversation without a Trump surrogate.
Here are the full comments from his monologue:
I and others have been trying to tell you, the American people, that this man was exhibiting bigoted behavior. I asked him a number of times, and he denied it, but kept up the racist rhetoric and behavior throughout the campaign, and now, while he's in the white house.
His supporters made excuses — continue to make excuses for him. Some of the people I personally know. Some of them are his friends, as a matter of fact, and I can hear them now telling me, "Oh Don, Donald didn't mean that. Donald isn't a racist." Or just people who don't know him: "I think he was taken out of context. I'm not sure." How many examples do you need of this?
But he is a racist. And for all of you who have over the last few years uttered that tired, lazy, uninformed, uneducated, ignorant response of calling me and others who point out racist behavior racist — you know what you can do? I can't say that, but you can go read a book — a history book.
Because you might learn that people from those "s**thole countries" were slaves who were brought here by force to build this country, and then start your learning process from there.
You also might want to do some self-examination. What does it say about you that no matter what — no matter what — you continue to make excuses for this man for his vilve behavior? Doesn't that make you just as bad, if not worse, than him?
And I have to be honest. I was not shocked that Donald Trump reportedly called majority black and Hispanic countries or continents "s**tholes." I wasn't shocked. I'm not outraged. I'm tired of being outraged, as a matter of fact. I've been outraged too many times.