By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published January 28, 2020
A CNN panel is getting intense backlash for mocking Trump supporters as "credulous boomer rubes," even sparking fierce condemnation from President Trump and his reelection campaign.
The panel, which originally aired on Saturday night during special live coverage of the impeachment trial, featured CNN anchor Don Lemon, New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali, and ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson discussing the heated exchange Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had with an NPR reporter, in which he allegedly challenged the journalist to point out Ukraine on a blank map.
Wilson used the topic to mock President Trump as well as his supporters.
"[Pompeo] also knows deep within his heart that Donald Trump couldn't find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it," Wilson began, causing Lemon to chuckle. "He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world. And so that's partly him playing to the base and playing to their audience. You know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump."
As Lemon began crying with tears of laughter, Wilson went on to depict what he thought a typical Trump supporter sounded like.
"'Donald Trump's the smart one — and y'all elitists are dumb!'" Wilson said with a heavy southern accent.
"'You elitists with your geography and your maps- and your spelling!'" Ali chimed in during the mockery.
"'Your math and your reading!'" Wilson added. "'All those lines on the map!'"
The CNN anchor almost lost his breath from laughing, wiping tears from his eyes with a tissue.
"That was good," Lemon reacted. "That was a good one. I needed that."
The clip was spotted by former CNN digital producer Steve Krakauer, who blasted the panel.
"The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents," Krakauer reacted. "If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened."
Trump knocked Lemon, calling him "the dumbest man on television," as well as his "terrible ratings."
The First Daughter and several members of the Trump campaign slammed the liberal network for mocking the president's supporters.
“You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided,” Ivanka Trump tweeted. “The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation’s ‘Real Elites’ is disgusting.”
"Deplorables. This Deplorable is ready," Trump campaign director Brad Parscale shot back with a flexing arm emoji.
"This is a real segment from an actual program on a cable news network that asks to be taken seriously. Not subtle message to huge parts of America: THEY HATE YOU," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh wrote.
"The media hardly ever hides their contempt for @realDonaldTrump supporters but this clip is featuring CNN’s @donlemon, The New York Times’ @WajahatAli, and @TheRickWilson is ludicrous. This is one of the most offensive segments I’ve seen in a while," GOP rapid response director Steve Guest reacted.
CNN received strong condemnation across social media.
"The smug political class hates the tens of millions of Americans who comprise our movement. They can cackle and grandstand...as we build a country based on sovereignty, economic nationalism, and the diffusion of power," former CNN commentator Steve Cortes reacted.
"This isn't disdain or disagreement. What Wajahat, Don, & Rick showed was a disrespect, hatred, & mockery for their fellow man who disagree. I don't want to hear @JakeTapper, @AndersonCooper, @BrianStelter, @ChrisCuomo, or anyone on @CNN lecture about their higher level of decency," NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck wrote.
"Don Lemon will laugh for a minute straight over Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali mocking Trump supporters and calling them stupid, but don't you dare make a meme or he will freak out," Washington Free Beacon media analyst Cameron Cawthorne quipped.
"If you want to give people a reason to vote Trump as a screw you to the media, keep airing segments like these," Daily Caller editor Peter Hasson said.
Lemon was recently handed a lawsuit by a man who alleges he was a victim of a sexually-charged assault by the CNN anchor. The accuser, Dustin Hice, said Lemon offered a six-figure settlement before talks broke down and the formal complaint was filed.
He is currently competing in the first annual "Smug Industries Liberal Hack Tournament." Lemon defeated Vox journalist Aaron Rupar in the first round and will face off against BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith in the second round.
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.