Don Lemon Says Viewers Should Be Worried After Mattis Resignation: ‘Earthquake is Rolling Through Washington’
On CNN on Thursday night, host Don Lemon read aloud and in its entirety the resignation letter tendered earlier that day by Gen. James Mattis. That reading generated some buzz for Lemon, but prior to delivering Mattis’ remarks, he delivered his own, calling the Syria and Mattis moment an “earthquake” in D.C.
After telling Chris Cuomo “I’m actually scared at this point” during the transition between their shows, Lemon began his commentary, gravely serious: “I want to be plain. Okay? Whatever you’re doing, please just sit down and watch. Even if you watch just this much of the show. Because I think it’s important for our country and the world.”
He then expressed the idea that Mattis was the last line of defense against President Donald Trump‘s bad ideas, and leaned into CNN’s new enthusiasm for military leadership and action.
“If you are worried tonight, you should be. Because honestly, who knows what is going to happen next? I’m not being hyperbolic. I’m not being an alarmist. And here’s why,” said Lemon. “However you felt or feel about James Mattis, Secretary Mattis, General James Mattis, he was the bulwark between impulse and stability in this administration. He was the last person left who could tell an impetuous president: Slow your roll; Hold your horses; Cool your jets; You don’t want to do that.”
“So tonight a political earthquake is rolling through Washington as the Trump administration sinks further into chaos,” he said.
Lemon outlined that Mattis differed with the President on key policy issues like Syria and ISIS. He was critical of Trump’s view, calling it “false” and “dangerous”, and then contrasted the two leaders. One, a Marine, the other, a draft-dodger.
“Now, in this country the president of the United States is the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed forces. That is the way it works. It’s momentous. It requires a steady hand, a sense of responsibility for the lives of our young men and women in uniform, and adherence to the values that they fight for, that they put their lives on the line for every single day,” he said.
“You can decide for yourself if the current holder of the office possesses those qualities. Pretty much everyone believes that Secretary Mattis does. He has all of those qualities,” Lemon offered as comparison. “And what Secretary Mattis did tonight proves that he does.”
“What happened today has made it crystal clear that President Trump is acting against the advice of top Pentagon and national security officials. Because he thinks he knows better,” he said, and then showed a clip.
The clip was of President Trump’s famously outrageous statement about knowing more than people like Mattis. “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me,” bragged Trump cluelessly in the clip.
Lemon bashed Trump’s history with the military, such as it is, and statements he’s made in the past, before asking “Does he know more about these conflicts than a four-star general? A four-star general, with a 40-year military career?”
“Well, we’re all about to find out. The whole world is about to find out,” he said. “General Mattis has had it, he’s had enough. General Kelly is leaving as Chief of Staff. General McMaster, long gone as national security adviser.”
“So here is what I want to do for you. Because you need to hear it. Okay? I want to read the full text of Mattis’s resignation letter,” he said to wrap up his own commentary and lead into a full reading of the resignation letter. “We can see where he spells out his differences with President Trump. He calls out the president’s dismissal of America’s long-standing military alliances such as NATO and hints at trump’s coziness with Russia and China, saying those countries are trying to shape the world in their authoritarian models. Okay? Please give me your attention.”
Read the resignation letter here.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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