On Thursday, President Trump caused an international outcry when he reportedly described Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations as “sh*thole countries" during a meeting on immigration policy with U.S. lawmakers. Plenty of people have already sounded off on Trump's reported "sh*thole" comment, but CNN's Don Lemon cut to the chase when he opened his Thursday night segment.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.
Those comments are frankly disgusting. There’s other language I would like to use, but we are on television. But you know what? They’re not shocking. Not even really surprising, because this is who Donald Trump is. This is what he thinks.
He went on to list a series of similarly offensive comments Trump had made. After that, Lemon visibly fought the urge to tell those Trump defenders to go and ... do something he couldn't say on air — but he did advise that they read a history book, because "you might learn that some of those people from those 'sh*thole countries' were slaves who were brought here by force to help build this country, and then start your learning process from there."
Here's the video.
As a refresher, the Washington Post reported that in an immigration policy meeting on Thursday, U.S. lawmakers presented Trump with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal. Trump reportedly belittled these nations as "sh*thole countries" and instead suggested the U.S. should bring more immigrants from Norway.
Members of Trump's own party condemned the remark, including the Salt Lake County Republican party and Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), whose parents are from Haiti. Love slammed Trump's reported insults, saying they were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values."
Meanwhile, on CNN, Lemon expressed that he was not shocked about Trump's comments — but he was tired of feeling outraged all the time. He instead suggested it was more important to be strategic rather than outraged, "otherwise it becomes a 'sky is falling' situation every time [Trump] says something dumb or stupid or racist."
In response, some fired-up Twitter users were totally here for Lemon's raw take.
... and were digging Lemon's attitude swinging into 2018.
Meanwhile, some Trump supporters swooped in to defend the president.
Others were grabbing their popcorn and gearing up for a titillating year ahead.
During Thursday's panel discussion on Trump's reported immigration comment, Lemon also didn't mince words when he cut off a conservative radio host. “Well, Don, it’s not about race as you like to make it,” radio host John Fredericks started off. “That’s easy and lazy. It’s about economics.”
After a brief exchange, Lemon motioned for Fredericks to be cut off broadcast.
Later in the show, Lemon brought Fredericks back on and asked him to apologize for calling people like Lemon lazy.
Fredericks said he was sorry and meant no offense — before launching into his opinion that "truer words in the Oval Office have never been said." He went on to imply that Trump's comments on wanting more Norwegian and less Haitian/Salvadoran/African immigrants was what everyday Americans say around the kitchen table.
The panel discussion got heated once more, this time between Fredericks and Republican strategist Rick Wilson. As Wilson and Fredericks engaged in a vicious debate over Trump's "sh*thole" remark, Wilson at one pointed threatened, “John, I will gut you like a fish on this show if you want to keep this up.”
At the time of writing, Trump has yet to offer any clarification or further expansion on his divisive comments.