CNN’s Don Lemon was stunned by President Donald Trump‘s “petty” and “unhinged” speech at a Phoenix, Arizona rally on Tuesday, during which he claimed the media is “trying to take away our history, our heritage” and further defended his comments on the Charlottesville, Virginia riots.
“I’m just going to speak from the heart here,” Lemon began his takedown of Trump on CNN Tonight. “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, “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 he deems to be his enemy like an imaginary friend of a 6-year-old. His speech was without thought, it was 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 opened up the race wound from Charlottesville.”
Trump was heavily criticized for the way he handled the events in Charlottesville, which saw white supremacists and neo-Nazis gathering with Nazi symbols and chanting Nazi slogans on Aug. 12. He read a prepared statement in an address to the American public two days later in which he denounced “KKK, neo-Nazis, [and] white supremacists.” However, he defended his initial remarks a day later and claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” — a fact he left out of his more than 70-minute speech in Arizona on Tuesday.
Surrounded by his supporters at the campaign-style rally, the president publicly criticized members of Congress, claimed he would shut down the government if it meant building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and falsely stated cable news networks had stopped broadcasting his speech.
Lemon called Trump “a man clearly wounded by the rational people who 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 is stable. A man backed into a corner, it seems, by circumstances beyond 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 a president of the United States?” he concluded. “This petty? This small? The person who is supposed to pull the country together? Certainly didn’t happen there.”
Watch Lemon’s full remarks in the clip above.