'It's Racism!': Don Lemon On the Expulsion of Tennessee Dem Representatives

April 7th, 2023 7:38 PM
Poppy Harlow Don Lemon Kaitlin Collins CNN This Morning 4-7-23 "That's his way of expressing himself. And it doesn't mean that he's being rude or boisterous or whatever. People need to understand how "we express ourselves."

Right on, Don! Just because someone blatantly flouts the House rules, and uses a bullhorn to incite the crowd inside the Tennessee Capitol, it doesn't mean he's being "rude or boisterous" or "whatever."  He's just expressing himself! And if you don't understand how "we" express ourselves, you're a racist!

That was part of Don Lemon's take on the expulsion of two black members of the Tennessee House, during Friday's CNN This Morning. And of course, Lemon concluded that it was due to "racism." 

Lemon's spiel came after a clip was played of Kaitlan Collins' interview with the chairman of the Tennessee House GOP caucus, Jeremy Faison. He gave some interesting background: that this was far from the first episode of this nature. The representatives who were expelled had a history of disrupting proceedings on the floor as well as in committee meetings.

Lemon described the expulsion of the two representatives as "the worst outcome" for them.

But being expelled could well turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to the two men. Overnight, they went from being obscure state representatives to hero status for a swath of Americans. Not to mention the liberal media. Witness the fact that one of the reps was treated to an interview on Friday's show for a second day running.

And when Lemon insisted that people need to understand how "we" express ourselves and that it doesn't mean that a black man was being "rude," you wonder whether Don was in part defending his own behavior. As in the case where he reportedly excoriated co-host Kaitlan Collins for allegedly interrupting him during a segment. 

Don Lemon ascribing to "racism" the expulsion of two black members of the Tennessee House was sponsored in part by La Quinta, ADT, Google, and Rocket Mortgage.

Here's the transcript, click "expand" to read:

CNN This Morning
6:11 am EDT

KAITLAN COLLINS: One final question for you. All right, well, Jeremy Faison has left us. 

And the final question that I wanted to ask him was his explanation for why the two black Democrats were expelled and the woman, the white woman, who, she acknowledged she believes race played a role in that, survived by one vote. 

DON LEMON: I think it's obvious. Um, look, it's, they could have done a censure, right? I think the right question was, why take the most drastic action afterwards? 

This is exactly what our country was built on, on protesting. Not everyone protests -- protests aren't perfect. It's also unconscious bias. It's racism. It's a double standard in our society. I, I obviously don't have to say. I would doubt they would have done this to white members. Because, guess what? They didn't! They did it to the two black members, and especially the two black men. 

It's like, usually, especially with something like this. The, the, the way people think about black men in this society needs to really be examined. Especially with protests. Especially with how we express ourselves. 

If you look at the member there, the guy with the afro, right? He's very outspoken, Justin Pearson, right? I just, I just wanted to be clear because there are two Justins. I just wanted to be clear about it because he is the afro. Yeah. Too militant, or whatever you want to call him. Outspoken. 

But that's how he, that's his way of expressing himself. And it doesn't mean that he's being rude or boisterous or whatever. He's expressing himself. And that's how he feels. 

And the other guy is a more subdued, and he's going to be on, the other Justin, I should say. Because they are two Justins. That's why I keep saying. Justin Jones, um, that's the way he expresses himself. 

And so I think that we really need to think about the double standard in this society. You may want to call it un- you know, unconscious bias. It's racism. That's exactly, that's all that it is, and what they were trying to do is something that was good. For the country and for Tennessee and for the country. And they ended up with the worst outcome.