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Don Lemon on Portrait Ceremony Report: ‘I Wouldn’t Want to Go to That White House If I Was Obama’

Some new reporting Tuesday indicated that the tradition of former presidents returning to the White House for the unveiling of their official portrait is most likely just not going to happen this time:

[T]his modern ritual won’t be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush.

Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he’s made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.

Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.

On CNN Tuesday night, Don Lemon said, “I wouldn’t want to go to that White House if I was Obama.”

He went back and forth with Chris Cuomo, who argued that Obama putting himself in that situation would “show the country that there are still bigger than our grievances.”

“You take the high road and say I’m not participating in this farce that is happening in this country right now,” Lemon said. He argued Obama can wait if he wants to and “doesn’t owe anyone everything”:

“For people like me who really feel how he is the first African-American president, we don’t really want him there. ANd it would be a slap in the face for him to go there. And he and his wife and his family and the people it really means a whole heck of a lot to, we know that. We don’t want him to go there. Do not go there. Do not put yourself in that situation. Do not lower yourself and debase yourself and go to that White House. Yes, I said it. Don’t do it.”

Cuomo asked, “And what about for those even within the African-American community who say ‘don’t let Trump tell you you can’t come’?”

“Why don’t you call up those four people and ask them?” Lemon retorted.

You can watch the back-and-forth above, via CNN.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac