CNN's Lemon: I wouldn't have shaken Trump's hand at Bush funeral: 'Can't fake the funk'
CNN anchor Don Lemon declared late Wednesday that he would not have shaken hands with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNapolitano: Trump Jr. thinks he will be indicted by Mueller Dems cry foul in undecided N.C. race On The Money: Trump touts China actions day after stock slide | China ‘confident’ on new trade deal | GM chief meets lawmakers to calm anger over cuts | Huawei CFO arrested MORE at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, saying he “can’t fake the funk” the way former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Memo: Grief, tension mark Bush memorial service Six touching moments during George HW Bush’s state funeral ‘A great and noble man’: Washington says final farewell to George HW Bush MORE did during the proceedings earlier in the day.
“I’m going to say that I don’t think I would shake hands with him. I would just … nope, couldn’t do it. I’m not that big a person,” Lemon told CNN’s Chris Cuomo during the handoff of the network’s 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. programs, which usually includes some banter between the two newsmen. “I would hope that I would be, but I don’t — I can’t fake the funk, as they say.”
“They showed the ultimate respect for the office,” Lemon added in reference to the Obamas. “They do not have to show respect for someone who does not respect them.”
Lemon’s comments came after Trump and first lady Melania Obama greeted the Obamas and shook hands when sitting down next to them in the front row of the service for Bush, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94. There was no greeting between the Trumps and former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Grief, tension mark Bush memorial service George P. Bush: The future of a political dynasty Would-be 2020 Dem candidates head for the exits MORE, who sat farther down the row.
After Cuomo said on Wednesday evening that it would have been rude for the Obamas to dismiss a sitting president in that situation, Lemon defended his thought process.
“I’m not petty and small. That’s real, brother. That’s real,” the 52-year-old “CNN Tonight” anchor said. “This is not about ideology. This is about the way someone conducts themselves. If you constantly called me names, and you were rude to me, and you — why should I have to show you respect at all?”
Lemon also argued he wouldn’t have invited Trump to the 41st president’s funeral if he were in the Bush family.
“An office is not a human being. I don’t think it’s respect for the human being if you talk smack about them, if you say the nastiest things about them, if you treat them as subhuman, and then you want to show up at their funeral. Really? Hell to the no,” Lemon said.
Lemon has been criticized by Trump directly before and since taking office, including several occasions when the president has called him “the dumbest man on television.”
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump wrote on Twitter in August.
“He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” he added, referring to Michael Jordan.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
Lemon, who is one of Trump’s staunchest critics on CNN, often refers to the president as a racist on his primetime program.
“This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying,” Lemon said in response to Trump in August.
Bush will be laid to rest at his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.
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