CNN’s Don Lemon was relentless as he got a former Trump official to condemn the failed ex-president for dining with Nazis and Anti-Semites.
Transcript via CNN:
KHODORKOVSKY: We – we are doing that, Don. But, you know, if you’re going to make me, you know, do a yes or no with you, yes or no, Should Ilhan Omar be condemned? Yes or no, should Rashida Talib be condemned?
LEMON: This is not about Omar or Talib. This is not. This is not about them.
KHODORKOVSKY: Yes or no, should President Obama condemn Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. Yes, or no, Don?
LEMON: It’s not about President Obama. This is not about Jeremiah Wright. This is not. This is about Donald Trump and Nick Fuentes.
KHODORKOVSKY: Well, why – why don’t you want to talk about the problems that (INAUDIBLE). Why do you want – why are you so fixated on President Trump? LEMON: Because they’re not meeting with them at their homes. They’re not meeting with anti-Semites. They’re – they’re not meeting with anti-Semites.
KHODORKOVSKY: Oh, really?
LEMON: And the reason that you were invited on this program was to talk about Donald Trump, this weekend, meeting with known anti-Semites and whether you condemn it as someone who worked for the administration and who is Jewish. That’s what this story is about. That’s what we – that’s what you’re here to talk about.
KHODORKOVSKY: Oh, I see, Don, so — so – so if – if – if there’s an answer that you want from me, why don’t you tell me what that answer would be and I – and – and, you know, what’s the need for me to appear if you’re –
LEMON: That answer would be — that answer would be one of not whataboutism. It would be one to directly address the situation at hand. It would be one to not what about anti-Semitism. Anti — it’s – it’s right, you think it’s OK, or it’s wrong? Was it wrong to meet with him?
KHODORKOVSKY: Don, is it –
LEMON: The answer is, yes, it was wrong to meet with him.
Should he have met with him? The answer is, no, he should not have met with him. The – it’s very simple.
KHODORKOVSKY: Don – Don, it’s – it’s very rich when – when you’re telling somebody who is Jewish, who has experienced anti-Semitism firsthand, who is a grandson of Holocaust survivors, what is an appropriate way to address anti-Semitism. Frankly, it’s a little bit insulting.
LEMON: It is insulting for you to – to think that I don’t understand bigotry and racism, because I understand it. And if someone was a bigot or a racist and you asked me about them, I will always say that it is wrong to traffic and meet with bigots and racists, regardless of what you might think about me and talking about a Jewish person, about — I’m not talking about the Holocaust. He’s a Holocaust denier. You’re bringing up the Holocaust. A Holocaust denier met with the former president, who you worked with. That should be more insulting to you than me talking about how you should respond to it, how you should respond directly to it.
KHODORKOVSKY: Let’s – let’s take a step back, Don, and let’s – let’s focus on the real issue of concern for both of us, which is, there’s a rise in anti-Semitism in the United States and the world. And we should not give a platform to any Holocaust deniers or anti-Semites wherever they are. And I think it — I don’t think that the president should have met with Kanye or his sidekick. And I wish no one else will either.
LEMON: That’s — you could have said that in the beginning. Thank you very much, Len. Appreciate it.
Why was it so difficult for a former Trump official to condemn him for having dinner with Holocaust deniers? Khodorkovsky was trying to avoid condemning Trump, but the whole point of the segment was to discuss Trump having dinner with Nazis and Holocaust deniers.
There was no getting around Donald Trump.
Don Lemon showed how it should be done. He didn’t fall for whataboutism, or allow the subject to be changed. He stuck to the matter at hand, and the conversation spoke volumes about the weakness of the Republican Party, and why the talk of them ousting Trump should ring hollow.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association