Watch the Interview That Reportedly Led to Don Lemon’s Firing From CNN

By Alex Griffing

After news broke on Monday that CNN had fired embattled anchor Don Lemon, The New York Times reported that a tense debate last week between GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Lemon may have been the final straw that ended his 17-year run at the network.

Lemon has generated a good deal of controversy in recent weeks with widely panned comments regarding Nikki Haley, another GOP presidential candidate, being “past her prime” and reported tensions behind the scenes between him and his co-host Kaitlin Collins.

The Times reported, however, that Lemon’s racially charged debate with Ramaswamy “left several CNN leaders exasperated”:

Last Wednesday, however, Mr. Lemon made headlines again after a highly contentious on-air exchange with Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate. The segment deteriorated as the men fiercely debated questions of Black history and the Second Amendment; Mr. Lemon’s co-anchor, Ms. Harlow, could be seen sitting silently beside him, at times casting her gaze elsewhere and scrolling through her smartphone.

The tense exchange between Lemon and Ramaswamy, which Mediaite was first to cover, became contentions after Lemon slammed Ramaswamy for lecturing him about the Black experience in the U.S. while defending a recent speech he made at an NRA event, in which the Republican candidate accused the Democratic Party of wanting to put Black people “back in chains.”

“For you to compare it to 1865, and 1964 is actually… I think it’s insulting to Black people. It’s insulting to me as an African-American, I don’t want to sit here and argue with you because it’s infuriating for you to put that to put those things together. It’s not right. Your telling of history is wrong,” Lemon charged during the interview as Ramaswamy defended his statements to the NRA.

“Well, here’s where you and I have a different point of view. I think we should be able to express our views regardless of the color of our skin. We should have this debate without me, regarding you as a Black man,” Ramaswamy said later in the interview.

“It’s insulting that you’re…” shot back Lemon.

“Regarding you here as a fellow citizen,” interjected Ramaswamy.

“That you’re sitting here whatever ethnicity you are splaining to me what it’s like to be Black in America,” Lemon replied.

“Whatever ethnicity I am?” asked a stunned Ramaswamy.

“I’ll tell you what I am? I’m an Indian American. I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate. Black, white, doesn’t matter,” he added.

“I think we should have this debate but I think we should,” Lemon replied as Ramaswamy said, “On the content of the ideas to do.”

“You should do it in an honest way and in a fair way. And what you’re doing is not an honest and fair way. We appreciate you coming on,” Lemon replied.

“With due respect, Don, I look forward to continuing that conversation,” Ramaswamy concluded as the two men shook hands.


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