Don Lemon, the CNN star who has been blasted by President Trump as a “lightweight” and “dumb as a rock," recently labeled the commander in chief a "racist."

Lemon sat down with Mark McKinnon for an interview that aired Sunday on Showtime’s “The Circus” to explain how the “CNN Tonight” host keeps his facts straight while covering the Trump administration. McKinnon pointed out that Trump regularly mocks CNN but “very rarely” goes after specific reporters, with Lemon being among the individuals who have come under attack.

“Hmm,” Lemon said before laughing. “Why do you think? Why do you think?”

McKinnon responded by saying that Trump usually goes after people who bother or threaten him – but the CNN star didn’t buy it.

“My feelings about this president have been known. I’ve said it on the air. I think that he is racist,” Lemon said. “I think his actions show it. I think the facts show it. Does he attack me for that reason? I don’t know. It could be part of the equation.”

"My feelings about this president have been known. I’ve said it on the air. I think that he is racist."

— CNN host Don Lemon

Trump has targeted numerous reporters in recent memory, including The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, MSNBC’s Katy Tur and CNN’s Jim Acosta.

Lemon then declared that Trump watches CNN every night although he’ll “say that he doesn’t,” because the president likes hearing about himself. Lemon also speculated about why the president doesn’t attack MSNBC as frequently as he goes after CNN.

“I don’t really think MSNBC matters to him, not that they don’t matter, but I think to him, because it’s so far left, I don’t think that matters to him,” Lemon said. “I know he’s watching [CNN].”

McKinnon then reminded Lemon that Trump famously called him “dumb as a rock” in a 2016 tweet.

“Whatever he says, it’s the opposite,” Lemon said. “Dumb people don’t usually do two hours a night of primetime.”

Earlier in the interview, Lemon explained that politics were not initially his “forte,” as he started out as a general assignment reporter, but he has educated himself along the way.

“Sometimes, I swear, I can’t keep up with it,” Lemon said before revealing a stack of documents he uses to fact check for his program.

“When you have an administration and a president that is factually challenged, you have to get your facts straight. You have to be on your game,” Lemon said. “It all matters.”

President Trump often refers to CNN as “fake news,” but Lemon defended his network by stating that “most” of the things it reports turn out to be accurate.


Lemon recently hosted a “Sag Harbor soiree” at his vacation home in the prestigious Hamptons area east of New York City. Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, was among the guests – as Juanita Scarlett revealed on Wednesday night via twitter.

Last week, Lemon’s boyfriend shockingly admitted they run in the same circle as Avenatti during an impromptu conversation with a reporter that the porn lawyer has threatened over unfavorable coverage.

Tim Malone, a media ad sales executive, made the disclosure in a Twitter direct message conversation with Daily Caller reporter Joe Simonson. It came after Avenatti appeared on "CNN Tonight" on the heels of a Daily Caller report on Avenatti's allegedly shady past dealings. Lemon gently broached the issue, asking Avenatti about his threats against the conservative news site, but failed to push for an answer regarding what exactly bothered him.

“You don’t think Avenatti is smart enough to try and befriend the liberal media?” Malone said, according to Simonson, implying that Lemon and the attorney are friends.

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.