On Monday evening, the president expressed sympathy over the police-involved killing of George Floyd but also wielded the power of the military, vowing to deploy armed services if states don't have the riots under control.
Lemon, who over the weekend demanded to hear from Trump after previously insisting that "nobody wants to hear" from him, indicated that he did not like what the president had to say.
"This was a made-for-television moment," Lemon began. "And what I wanted to say after that and that I believed to be true and that I know to be true now is that earlier on that phone call ... when the president said, 'You are being weak, you have to show strength' ... those were the orders from the commander in chief."
He continued, "For this very moment that just happened right before our eyes, why were we pretending otherwise? Open your eyes, America. Open your eyes. We are teetering on a dictatorship. This is chaos. Has the president -- I'm listening, is the president declaring war on Americans? What is happening here? He is saying that he wants to protect peaceful protesters at the same time sending law enforcement and military into the streets to push peaceful protesters back, to be aggressive with peaceful protesters. He is doing the exact opposite of what he said in that speech."
The "CNN Tonight" anchor warned his colleague Wolf Blitzer that Trump is "playing a very, very dangerous game here," noting that many people are "angry," adding that he hopes that they "fight for their right to peacefully protest."
"This will backfire," Lemon insisted. "People are upset and they're angry. These people ... feel like they're occupied in their own communities by police departments, many of them militarized police departments. Now the entire country, according to his orders, we are living under a militarized country or we will be soon and it will play out in front of our very eyes on national television. "
Last week, Lemon suggested that Trump "contributed" to the environment that led to George Floyd's death.
Back in 2018, Lemon raised eyebrows with his defense of Antifa, the so-called "anti-fascist" movement that is believed to be responsible for fueling violence recent days and in previous demonstrations.
"Listen, no organization is perfect. There was some violence. No one condones violence, but there were different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there," Lemon said at the time in reference to the 2017 violent clash in Charlottesville, Va. "One, racists, fascists, the other group, fighting racist fascists. There is a distinction there."