Shortly after CNN anchor Don Lemon delivered an impassioned and scathing monologue in which he said the president “traffics in racism” following Trump’s personal attack on him and LeBron James, a panel discussion got extremely testy when New York Times columnist Charles Blow tore into CNN political commentator and Trump sycophant Steve Cortes.
After Cortes pushed back against Lemon’s description of the president as racist by claiming POTUS is an equal-opportunity offender who has insulted the intelligence of multiple white men, Lemon first pushed back by asking Cortes how much more evidence he needs to see that Trump is a racist.
“Being a racist does not mean walking down the street calling people the n-word,” the CNN anchor explained. “It is what you do, your practice. It is what you say, how you treat people, who you hang out with, it is what comes out of your mouth.”
Cortes responded by saying that Trump’s actions show that he is making life better for people of color, causing Blow to jump in and offer his personal observation. And that observation was that Cortes was essentially throwing a bunch of shit at the wall to see what sticks and to create confusion in the conversation.
“This is again a whole bunch of things that are not related to each other and tries to get around the actual facts we put on the table,” Blow, who is also a CNN political commentator, noted. “That’s what you do. I’ve seen you on television a million times and it’s kind of clever but it’s not clever with me, right?”
The NYT writer continued, “The idea that he uses particular people as — as weapons, as clubs at rallies, that he constantly comes back, and this has been reported out, that he thought that him attacking those NFL players played well politically for him. So he used them. They weren’t constantly coming at him, which is the lie you just told.”
As Cortes expressed confusion, Lemon added that the NFL players didn’t personally attack Trump at the beginning, leading Blow to state that “but y’all let him come in here and lie” regarding Cortes before finishing his point about Trump targeting black NFL players over peaceful protests.
“But he knows that people in those audiences don’t see that. They see black men being disobedient, and that is what he is using,” Blow exclaimed while Cortes shook his head and verbally disagreed that was the case.
“So give him a chance to twist that around and tell another lie on TV,” Blow shot back. “Which is what he does!”
“Can you stop calling me a liar?!” Cortes retorted.
“You lie all the time and this — it’s very apparent to anybody who’s watching,” the columnist declared as Cortes said he was a “brown face” who very much appreciated what the president was doing for his community.
The two continued to go at it for a couple of more minutes — a spat that included Blow accusing Cortes of using dog whistles — which you can see in the clip above, via CNN.