The incident involving Republican House nominee Greg Gianforte allegedly body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs controlled the attention of nearly everybody on Wednesday night. Memes poured out, political lines were drawn, and almost everybody struggled to make sense of what happened. For Don Lemon, the spark behind the attack was clear and currently holding power in The White House.
The CNN host placed blame directly on Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign and early presidential term, butting heads with Trump supporter Paris Dennard in the process. While attempting to get Dennard’s take on why something like the Gianforte incident would happen — with Dennard either citing Election with Reese Witherspoon or The Campaign with Will Ferrell in his answer –Lemon interrupts and sets the narrative he wants to hear:
“You don’t think it’s because of a guy who’s in office now has said very horrible things about reporters, and has said that the reporters are the enemy of the American people?”
It only gets worse from there, with Lemon pushing Dennard on Trump’s comments, Dennard doing what he can to deflect the barbs coming from Lemon, and Ana Navarro doing her best to pour a little gas on the whole thing. The best part comes right at the end when Lemon closes the entire show with the following exchange:
“If you think that that doesn’t have anything to do with it, then you are sadly, sadly mistaken, my friend.”
Dennard retorted, “Call me sadly mistaken, but you’re wrong.” Lemon bluntly replied, “I just did. Thank you,”
Lemon certainly stood by his guns the entire segment, you can’t deny that. And while it might be a stretch to connect Trump directly to this incident, his tone and relationship with journalists has turned plenty of people against reporters.