UPDATED: On Monday, Don Lemon appeared on Cuomo Prime Time to talk to his CNN colleague Chris Cuomo about two black shoppers that were shot in Kentucky last week, a shooting since deemed a hate crime. While discussing the news with Cuomo, Lemon made a comment that sparked controversy.
“I keep trying to point out to people not to demonize any one group or any one ethnicity, but we keep thinking that the biggest terror threat is something else,” Lemon said, adding, “we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them.”
He pointed out that there is no travel ban on white men like there is with the Muslim ban and that there is no “white guy ban” in general. “What do we do about that?”
Lemon was immediately criticized for his remarks, mainly by conservatives. Among them was Donald Trump Jr. who said, “Amazing. I thought this was some sort of joke quote taken out of context but no… it’s just Don Lemon being a moron. Unfortunately this is how so many leftists actually think. Disgusting! Imagine the outrage if you changed “white men” with any other demographic.”
On his CNN show Wednesday night, Lemon addressed the controversy, standing by his claim.
“I made some comments about that in a conversation with Chris,” Lemon said. “I said that the biggest terror threat in this country comes from radicals on the far right, primarily white men. That angered some people. But let’s put emotion aside and look at the cold hard facts. The evidence is overwhelming,” Lemon said, citing a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.
“Even though more people died in attacks connected to Islamic extremists, the vast majority of deadly attacks in this country from 2001 to 2016 were carried out by far-right violent extremists…. Their analysis shows that for every eight deadly attacks by right-wing extremists, there were one by left-wing extremists,” he said. “Those are the facts. So people who were angered about what I said are missing the entire point. We don’t need to worry about people who are thousands of miles away. The biggest threats are homegrown. The facts prove that.”
Lemon’s original statements came in the wake of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where Joyce Fienberg, David Rosenthal, Richard Gottfried, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Cecil Rosenthal, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger were gunned down by a suspected white male domestic terrorist.
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