During what was supposed to be an otherwise civil discourse about policing in the wake of another American tragedy Sunday that claimed the lives of three officers in uniform, CNN’s Don Lemon welcomed Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the set.
Clarke, an African American, has been one of the most vocal critics of the Black Lives Matter movements for years; he is a frequent Fox News guest for his unique take, and he is followed on Twitter by the likes of Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bret Baier, and many other conservatives who have cheered his anti-Obama/anti-BLM rhetoric of the past. It should be no surprise then to see just how unwilling the Sheriff was to agree with Lemon Sunday night on even the simplest of talking points.
“This anti-cop sentiment from this hateful ideology from Black Lives Matter has fueled that rage against police officers,” said Clarke, who appeared visibly upset live from Cleveland where he is scheduled to speak this week at the Republican National Convention.
As the two sparred even over basic language used to describe the fractured state of this national debate, Lemon was forced to go to commercial, remarking to his guest, “Are you gonna let me talk?”
“I wish you had that message of civility towards this hateful ideology,” continued Clarke. The conservative Sheriff blasted the notion that there was empirical date to suggest that young black males were disproportionately targeted by law enforcement. “There is not data,” Clarke said to Lemon. “The President is lying… that is a lie.”
At times, the interview devolved into two seemingly different conversations altogether, with Lemon serving as referee best he could to steer it back on topic. “Sheriff, that’s a different conversation,” he would gently remind his guest. “I’m asking the questions here, you’re answering the questions by asking questions about some other subject that we’re not discussing. That’s not a discussion,” said the CNN host. Ultimately, Lemon conceded that the circumstances for Clarke were perhaps not the best in light of the tragedy in Baton Rouge.
“I understand it’s a very difficult time for you,” he said.
Watch the interview above via CNN in both parts.
J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) is an editorial producer and columnist at Mediaite.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org