During their nightly hand-off, his primetime colleague Chris Cuomo began by describing 2020 as the most "definitional" election in his lifetime. Lemon appeared to attempt to shame Trump supporters, and asked them if they will "continue to fall for the o-ke-doke." But then he questioned the media's responsibilities in covering Trump's candidacy.
The "CNN Tonight" anchor urged Cuomo to "think about the most despicable people in history" and warned him that he was going to use an "extreme example."
"Think about Hitler. Think about any of those people... if you could look back in history, would you say, 'Well, I'm so glad that person was allowed a platform so that they could spread their hate and propaganda and lies,' or would you say, 'That probably wasn't the right thing to do to spread that because you knew in that moment that was a bad person and they were doing bad things. And not only were they hurting people, they were killing people."
"I think that the example matters," Cuomo responded. "And that's a very extreme example."
"Listen, for people like me, how this the president feels about the Central Park Five, that could be a life or death issue for people like me," Lemon doubled down. "He took a big part of their life away... and demonizing immigrants and talking about 'sh**hole countries' and saying that 'there were very fine people on both sides.' For people of color in this country, it is a life or death issue... so I'm just saying we just need to be careful about having 'these are standard rules.' This is not standard. This is not normal."
"Comparing anything to an extreme like a Hitler- it weakens the argument," Cuomo pushed back, "because you are now taking a guy who says things you don't like and comparing him to a genocidal maniac."
"I'm not comparing him to that," Lemon attempted to clarify. "I'm comparing the way you would cover someone who is a bad person who does bad things."