On Thursday’s CNN Tonight, Don Lemon hosted a discussion in which he suggested that black Americans would “lose” in President Donald Trump’s budget in spite of Trump asking black voters during the campaign, “What do you have to lose?” As conservative CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Paris Dennard was outnumbered 4-1 — facing off with two liberals guests, a liberal host and a right-leaning guest who was critical of Trump’s budget — Dennard jousted with Lemon and at one point was admonished by the host to “let other people speak” even though Dennard was not the one speaking at the time. Near the end of the 11:00 p.m. hour, Lemon introduced the segment by bringing up Trump’s famous “What do you have to lose?” appeal to blacks to vote for him. Lemon:
Candidate Donald Trump reached out to African-American voters by famously asking, “What do you have to lose?” He said at some points, “What the hell do you have to lose?” So here’s some answers now. The President Trump’s preliminary budget plan is out, so let’s discuss now. Then played several clips of Trump from the campaign. Even though liberals have a history of suggesting that Republicans are racist for noticing that blacks are disproportionately affected by economic and social problems, Lemon was quick to portray supposed budget cuts of economic and social programs as disproportionately hurting the black population as he posed: Wow, that really did happen, didn’t it? So what do we have to lose? What do African-Americans have to lose? The President’s proposed budget slashes funding, let’s see, for federal agencies that assist poor and urban areas, including many African-Americans, Department of Housing and Urban Development down 13.2 percent, the Department of Education down 13.5 percent, Department of Health and Human Services down 16.2 percent. So it seems that some African-Americans are losing a lot. Am I wrong, Paris?
After Dennard began by recalling that funding for black colleges was not being cut in spite of the numbers cited for education spending in general, Lemon mockingly responded: “Well, when people are kicked out of their houses, I guess they’re going to go live in a historically black college or university.” After Dennard and liberal commentator Angela Rye went back and forth a bit, Lemon got back in and suggested blacks would be unable to get enough food because of President Trump’s budget: So a lot of people — HBCUs is (sic) important, but there are a lot of people who are sitting here watching tonight going, “HBCUs? I got to eat. I’ve got to live somewhere. Great, yes, I would love to send my kid to a college, any college.” Maybe they want to send them to an HBCU. But why are you rambling on about HBCUs when we’re talking about urban development, about other education, about Health and Human Services, and more important issues than HBCUs?
After Lemon and Dennard went back and forth a bit more, normally right-leaning commentator Shermichael Singleton also complained about the Trump budget. After Dennard got back in for a bit, there came a point when Lemon seemed to reflexively think Dennard was interrupting the conversation as he was turning to liberal commentator Bakari Sellers, leading him to admonish Dennard instead of Singleton: DON LEMON: And just in case you’re wondering, Shermichael is a conservative, is a Republican, and once worked in government. So anyways, Bakari — SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And Don — LEMON: — how much will this budget — Paris, let other people speak — how much will this proposed budget — DENNARD: That wasn’t me. — LEMON: — hurt African-Americans — SINGELTON: That was me, Don. That was me. — LEMON: Sorry, okay, sorry, I’m wrong. — DENNARD: Chastise the right person. — LEMON: Go ahead, Bakari. — Lemon and Dennard have a history of getting into heated exchanges, and recently Lemon abruptly ended the show after taking up Dennard’s time lecturing him and not allowing him time to speak.
NewsBusters: CNN’s Lemon Suggests Blacks Will ‘Lose,’ Go Hungry Under Trump Budget