Earlier this week, CNN host Don Lemon took his partisan attacks to a new low in an interview with Rev. Bill Owens, the founder of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP).
Lemon went after Mr. Owens for attending a meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday, in which the two discussed issues concerning poverty-stricken areas. The CNN host insinuated that the pastor should not be taken seriously and effectively accused him of being a sellout to his race by providing a shield for Trump’s supposed “racism.”
“So the president tweeted today he was looking forward to his meeting with wonderful inner-city pastors,” said Lemon. “Any concern for you that the president used this meeting with black leaders to insulate himself from the criticism?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t think that at all because I have been to the White House four times in five months,” Owens explained. “So it was nothing about insulating him from anything. He wanted to hear from us, what our concerns were and what he could do to help us.”
Lemon, who is engaged to be married to real estate agent Tim Malone, then went after Owens for his disagreement with former President Barack Obama on same-sex marriage — claiming the pastor tied Obama to support for “child molestation” in 2012.
“That, in itself, was an outrageous statement,” said Lemon, “Why should anyone take you seriously?”
Owens adamantly insisted that Lemon was mischaracterizing his comments. “I never said that. I have never said that,” the pastor told the host. “I had a difference with Obama about same-sex marriage, I have never mentioned a child about President Obama — never, never, never.”
Obama “is a gentlemen … the only thing I disagreed with Obama on was same-sex marriage. That’s the only thing,” added Owens, noting that he still believes same-sex marriage is “ungodly.”
“So I know it’s hard for you, you think it’s hard to believe that Trump is racist,” Lemon said. “But he’s repeatedly used racially-charged language. He consistently attacks black and brown elected leaders. So, why is that hard to believe, pastor?”
“I find President Trump a leader of all colors. He attacks whom he will. He’s his own man. And I can’t dictate what he should or shouldn’t do. But he does not just attack black people,” answered Owens. “He attacks anybody, and you know it.”
Lemon then targeted Owens' standing as a Christian. “So, as a man of faith, as a Christian, you’re saying he attacks anyone. It sounds like you’re condoning attacks? Is that Christianly or godly?”
“I’m just stating a statement of fact,” the pastor pushed back. “I’m not condoning anything. I’m stating a statement of fact. President Trump does not pick the people he attacks because of color. He attacks anybody he feels needs it.”
“Is that okay with you?” Lemon pressed.
“Well, I’m not his judge,” responded Owens.
The pastor went on to outline how he’s been criticized in the past at times, but has always believed that what matters to him most is helping those in need.
“Listen, I appreciate you giving me your biography,” Lemon sharply interrupted. “For the sake of time, what does this have to do with this president?”
“I was criticized then, and I’m criticized now directly and indirectly for meeting with the president,” Owens explained to Lemon. “What I’m trying to say is that I do what I can to help our young people, wherever that is, however that is, and I have an agenda to help our black young people and poor people of any color throughout this country. I’ve done it, and I’ll do it again, and I will work with this president on that agenda.”
“Did you work with President Barack Obama on that agenda?” Lemon asked accusingly.
Owens responded fiercely, “I worked with all presidents on that agenda — all presidents. I work with anybody who wants to help this country and help our inner-city young people. I don’t want them to have to go through what I went through to get where I am. Thank God I’m blessed; starting from nothing on the other side of scratch, I have three university degrees because God blessed me and this great country.”
Earlier this week, Lemon was a moderator in the second Democratic Party presidential debate, during which he predictably asked hard-charging questions.
Lemon’s anti-Trump fervor was highlighted in May, when it was reported that The New York Times had barred its reporters from appearing on the CNN host’s show because of his extreme partisan.