CNN anchor Don Lemon revealed that President Donald Trump once accused him of being racist, after a contentious interview over Trump’s conspiracy theory that former President Obama was born in Kenya.
Appearing on The Situation Room Tuesday night, Lemon spoke about the president’s Friday night tweet attacking him. Anchor Wolf Blitzer pointed out that there was a time when Trump would go on Lemon’s show for interviews, and said he thought there was a “mutually respectful relationship” between the two.
“The last time I interviewed Donald Trump, before he ran for office, was the night that Osama Bin Laden was killed,” Lemon explained. “It was before he was killed and we had a row about the birther issue.”
“He vowed that he would never do an interview with me because he said I was racist, because I challenged him on an in-factual statement, a lie.”
“[Trump said] you’re a racist?” a confounded Dana Bash asked.
“That I was racist because of the way that I challenged him,” Lemon confirmed. “Much in the way that he thought that I can’t be unbiased about an issue concerning race, like Judge Curiel, because I’m African-American. So he accused me of being racist.”
Lemon said that Trump eventually agreed to come back on the show, and praised it as a “great” and “fair” interview. Then-candidate Trump went on to appear on Lemon’s show “eight or nine” more times.
“And then once he became President of the United States, and you have to hold his feet to the fire, all of a sudden he doesn’t like what I’m doing,” Lemon said. “Because I have to call out the lies, or the misstatements, or when he gets something wrong, or when he does something crazy, or when he tweets something that’s just beyond the pale. All of a sudden he doesn’t like me.”
Lemon concluded that Trump accusing him of being racist is “complete projection.”
“It’s what he believes about himself.”
Blitzer noted he was happy that First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement supporting LeBron James.
“I think that’s great that Melania Trump did that, I give her credit for it,” Lemon replied. “I don’t know if we should read too much into it because I think we also have to remember she was a Birther too.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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