Friday night, CNN re-broadcasted an exclusive interview between Don Lemon and LeBron James, where the living NBA legend discussed everything from his new school to politics, including Donald Trump’s racial divisiveness.
“What I’ve noticed over the past few months, he’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to,” James said of Trump, adding that he would never sit across from him if given the opportunity.
However, James’ comments didn’t sit well with Trump, as he fired back with insults, via Twitter.
“LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump wrote. “He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
The tweet sparked a widespread backlash, with many celebrities, athletes, and fans coming to the King’s defense. But it wasn’t until three days later, that Lemon, the other victim of Trump’s Twitter tirade, used his platform to formally condemn Trump as a racist, again.
“As a journalist, I don’t really like being the story here,” Lemon said. “But because of how important it is for each of us to stand up for what is right and what is decent, I’m going to tell you exactly how I feel, starting right now.”
“The president has called a lot of people stupid,” he said. “Some of those people are white. But I would just like to note that referring to an African American as dumb – remember this is America – is one of the oldest canards of America’s racist past and present: that black people are of inferior intelligence.”
“The president constantly denigrates people of color, and women, too,” Lemon added, highlighting Trump’s constant attacks on black critics, such as Lemon, himself, Ms. Maxine Waters, Barack Obama.
As he continued, Lemon highlighted Trump’s word-choice regarding the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville in comparison to his repeated attacks on black NFL players.
“Let me not mince words here,” Lemon said. “This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying.”
“Trump is trying to divide in a divide-and-conquer strategy,” he continued, “and here’s how it goes: he divides by race and tries to conquer decency by smearing and besmirching the truth and the people who fight to uphold it.”
“Is this who we really are?” Lemon asked. “The overwhelmingly negative response to his unfair and unkind attack on a good man, LeBron James, shows America rejects what he is peddling. Most of America anyway. Not all of America.”
As he continued his nine-minute segment, he ended with a call for one.
“We, the decent and truly patriotic people who really love America and believe in its greatness, have to. Because clearly, Donald Trump won’t.”