On Tuesday night following President Donald Trump's highly controversial Phoenix speech, Don Lemon, a CNN anchor, offered a very poignant response to the president's words. And his well-thought-out statement likely captured the sentiments of many Americans watching.
During his Phoenix rally speech, Trump attempted to defend his controversial words following the Charlottesville tragedy. A few days after the violent rallies, he put equal blame on "both sides" (white supremacists and counter protestors) for violence and stated that there were some "very fine people" among the white nationalist marchers.
In attempting to defend his Charlottesville speech at the Phoenix rally, Trump re-iterated most of it to prove that he condemned racism. However he very notably left out his statements about "both sides" and "very fine people," mischaracterizing what he had actually said in the wake of the tragedy. Moreover, the president charged the media with not reporting his reaction to Charlottesville accurately, claiming it was engaged in "crooked deceptions." To make matters even worse, he erroneously accused the networks of turning their cameras off as he criticized them at the rally. The news networks did not turn their cameras off.
Following the president's inflammatory speech, Lemon made brief remarks on CNN. He opened his comments by saying he was going to "speak from the heart" and then expressed outrage at Trump's deception during his speech, saying,
What we have witnessed was a total eclipse of the facts, someone who came out on stage and lied directly to the American people and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to Charlottesville.
Lemon went on to call the president "unhinged" and remarked that the president's remarks were "embarrassing" for the country. Lemon also criticized Trump for failing to put thought into his words and for failing to realize the seriousness of their ramifications, saying
His speech was without thought. It was without reason. It was devoid of facts. It was devoid of wisdom. There was no gravitas. There was no sanity there. He was like a child blaming a sibling ...
Lemon noted that Trump appeared "wounded" during his Phoenix speech and seemed both hurt and wanting to inflict blame on those who are increasingly withdrawing their support for him, both in the private sector and in Washington, D.C.
He also bluntly asserted that Trump's words seemed to represent those of "a man backed into a corner, it seems, by circumstances beyond his control and beyond his understanding."
Lemon's frank commentary following Trump's Charlottesville speech constituted a much-appreciated reminder of the dangers posed by a president who mischaracterizes facts and seeks to blame others, especially the media, for his own shortcomings. Lemon's words serve as a serious warning that this behavior is not normal or acceptable (for a president or anyone else, for that matter), and that no one should accept Trump's actions as the "new normal."