President Donald Trump’s campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday prompted a swath of negative reaction, as he attempted to blame civil unrest and division in the U.S. on the “dishonest media.”
Reacting to Trump’s speech, CNN anchor Don Lemon told viewers that the president was “unhinged” and was attempting to “rewrite history.”
Trump defended his response to the Charlottesville protest earlier in August, insisting that his first statement—issued August 12—was an appropriate and measured response. He re-read parts of the statement but omitted a key line that “many sides” were responsible for the violence that erupted.
Trump’s failure to unequivocally condemn white supremacists led to criticism and Trump issued a second statement August 14, but walked back on those comments by August 15 during a press conference at Trump Tower.
Lemon reacted to Tuesday’s rally speech with incredulity, telling viewers: “Well, what do you say to that?”
“I’m just going to speak from the heart here. What we have witnessed is a total eclipse of the facts. Someone who came out on stage and lied directly to the American people, and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to Charlottesville,” Lemon continued.
Watch the full segment below:
During his speech, Trump continued his attacks on the mainstream media, branding The New York Times as “failing” and The Washington Post a “lobbying tool for Amazon.” The online retailer’s founder, Jeff Bezos, is also owner of the Post. The president showed particular disdain to CNN which he said “is so bad and so pathetic and their ratings are going down.”
Read Lemon’s full response to Trump’s rally speech below:
"Well, what do you say to that?
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I’m just going to speak from the heart here. What we have witnessed is a total eclipse of the facts. Someone who came out on stage and lied directly to the American people, and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to Charlottesville,
“He’s unhinged, it’s embarrassing—and I don’t mean for us, the media, because he went after us, but for the country. This is who we elected President of the United States? A man who is so petty that he has to go after people who he deems to be his enemy, like the imaginary friend of a six-year-old?
His speech was without thought, without reason, it was devoid of facts, it was devoid of wisdom, there was no gravitas, there was no sanity there. He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else: ‘He did it. I didn’t do it.’
He certainly opened up the race wound on Charlottesville.
A man clearly wounded by the rational people that are abandoning him in droves—meaning those business people and the people in Washington now who are questioning his fitness for office, and whether he’s stable. A man backed into a corner, it seems, by circumstances by his control and beyond his understanding.
That’s the truth. If you watch that speech as an American, you had to be thinking: ‘What in the world is going on? This is the person we elected as the President of the United States?’"
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