CNN anchor Don Lemon lashed out at former White House aide Cliff Sims over President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville remarks and ended the segment early after he was accused by his guest of "contributing" to the political divide in the country.
While covering the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the rally Trump held simultaneously in Green Bay, Wis. on Saturday night, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota began the conversation by criticizing President Trump’s pivot from his somber rally remarks about the deadly synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif. to his fiery attacks against the Russia investigation.
Sims responded by saying all Americans are “watching the same movie” and how they are “seeing dramatically different things” when it comes to the Trump presidency. He used Lemon’s response to Charlottesville as an example that his views of Trump’s remarks are “diametrically opposed” to many others, including himself, adding that Trump “did condemn” white supremacy.
“Then you’re delusional. Then you’re delusional, Cliff,” Lemon talked over Sims. “You’re saying because the president says words that are hollow- because the president said ‘we should come together.’”
“I couldn’t hear anything you just said, Don, because you insisted on talking over me,” Sims shot back. “So I really don’t know what you’re saying right now.”
“If you stop talking, then we won’t be talking over each other and I will let you respond,” Lemon said.
“Well, you want to interview me!” Sims exclaimed. “You asked me to come on your program, so give me a chance to talk!”
Lemon accused the “Team of Vipers” author of saying that “the president’s words don’t matter,” which Sims denied. Sims then challenged Lemon to give an example of Trump “being a white supremacist.”
“I never called the president a white supremacist, so you’re watching the wrong program or you’re not hearing what I’m saying. What I have called the president is a racist,” the CNN anchor said. “When you call nations ‘s---hole countries,’ when you call African-American players ‘sons of b--hes, when you say there are ‘fine people on both sides,’ when you lie about it afterwards --“
Sims attempted to explain that Trump was saying there were “fine people on both sides” of the debate over Confederate statues, but Lemon insisted that’s not what the president said.
After another heated exchange, the former Trump aide accused Lemon of “contributing” to stoking division by re-litigating the Charlottesville remarks.
“I’m not the person who said that they were ‘fine people on both sides,’” Lemon fired back. “I’m not the person who called countries ‘sh--hole countries.’”
“You actually don’t even know if he said that because that’s another one of those based on anonymous and people in the room say blah, blah, blah, you actually don’t know if he said that,” Sims told Lemon.
“Yes, I do know that he said that,” Lemon claimed. “And it’s not ‘blah, blah, blah.”
The “CNN Tonight” host had enough of Sims and cut the segment short, shifting to someone he says “tried to bring this country together.”
“And that’s you, Don. You do a great job at that,” Sims sarcastically added before his mic was cut.
Lemon was actually referring to President Barack Obama.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.