CNN host Don Lemon began his show Thursday night by labeling President Trump as “racist” in the wake of reports that the president called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.”
“The president of the United States is racist,” Lemon said at the opening of his show. “A lot of us already knew that.”
Lemon was responding to reports from The Washington Post and other media outlets that Trump referred to immigrants from Haiti and African countries as coming from “shithole countries.”
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said in an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers while discussing protections for immigrants from several countries
Trump then reportedly said that the U.S. should bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with the previous day.
Lemon called those remarks “disgusting.”
“There’s other language I’d like to use, but we are on television,” Lemon said. “But you know what? They’re not shocking. They’re not even really surprising. Because this is who Donald Trump is.”
Earlier Thursday, Lemon’s fellow CNN host Anderson Cooper slammedTrump’s remarks, calling them “racist.”
In a statement Thursday, the White House did not deny Trump’s “shithole” comments.
Trump’s remarks sparked outrage from both sides of the aisle, with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) calling on Trump to give a “detailed explanation” for his remarks and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) calling Trump’s comment “racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy.”
Lemon has criticized Trump on the topic before. In November, the CNN host tore into Trump for calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” during a White House event honoring Native American Code Talkers.
“Just because you say you’re not racist, doesn’t make it so,” Lemon said after playing a clip of Trump claiming that he is “the least racist person that you have ever met.”