Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) is calling out CNN host Don Lemon, who, on Wednesday, said the 75 million Americans who voted for President Donald Trump are “on the side of the Klan” and “on the Nazi side.”
Crenshaw, whom many see as the future of the Republican Party, pointed out that, for the media, “this was always their intent,” referring to Lemon’s vilification of anyone whose political perspectives aren’t progressive.
“It’s not enough that their favorite villain is gone,” wrote the Texas lawmaker, referring to outgoing President Donald Trump. “Now they have to paint tens of millions of Americans as racists and bigots. Truly vile, but incredibly predictable.”
Conservative talk radio host and author Ben Shapiro also condemned Lemon’s intentionally divisive rhetoric, calling the CNN anchor’s words “vile.”
“It’s this deliberate attempt to lump together anyone who voted for Trump and the Capitol rioters that undermines the possibility of unity,” Shapiro added. “It also happens to be false and indecent.”
Lemon’s inflammatory comments came during his nightly banter with fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who is equally as progressive.
Cuomo asked Lemon for his response to people who say they agree with Trump’s policies but — like the vast majority of conservatives — take issue with those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Lemon responded by painting all conservatives the same, suggesting they are akin to Klansman and Nazis who endorse slavery and believe certain Americans “should not exist.”
“If you are on that side, you need to think about the side you’re on,” he told Cuomo. “I am never on the side of the Klan. Principled people — conservative or liberal — never on the Klan side. Principled people — conservative or liberal — never on the Nazi side. Principled people who are conservative or liberal, never on the side that treats their fellow Americans as less than, that says your fellow Americans should not exist … that sides with slavery.”
Cuomo pushed back once more, asking Lemon what he thinks about those who distance themselves from people on the fringe but say they “like Trump’s policies.”
“Then get out of the crowd with them,” rebuked Lemon. “If you voted for Trump, you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers. … You voted on that side, and the people in Washington are continuing to vote on that side.”
In a piece of his own published in Politico Thursday, Shapiro said he has spoken with conservatives who feel the impeachment effort underway right now is an attempt by Democrats to “cudgel them collectively by lumping them in” with the radicals who rioted in the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress were convening to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
“My Republican sources tell me that opposition to impeachment doesn’t spring from generalized sanguinity over Trump’s behavior,” he wrote. “I’ve been receiving calls and texts for more than a week from elected Republicans heartsick over what they saw in the Capitol.”
“Opposition to impeachment comes from a deep and abiding conservative believe that members of the opposing political tribe want their destruction, not simply to punish Trump for his behavior,” added Shapiro. “Republicans believe that Democrats and the overwhelmingly liberal media see impeachment as an attempt to cudgel them collectively by lumping them in with the Capitol rioters thanks to their support for Trump.”
The House of Representatives — controlled by Democrats — passed impeachment papers against Trump on Wednesday. The legislation will now head to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated the matter won’t be taken up until after Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.