The decade's most triggering comedy
CNN host Don Lemon, far-left op-ed writer Wajahat Ali, and anti-Trump establishment Republican Rick Wilson mocked supporters of President Donald Trump over the weekend, portraying them as uneducated rednecks who could not even read.
The segment from late on Saturday night came in response to reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yelled at a left-wing NPR reporter who lied to him and broke an off the record agreement that they had and asked her to identify on a map Ukraine.
The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents.
If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened. pic.twitter.com/8kQ6zN9AZV
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) January 28, 2020
CNN’S DON LEMON: Oh as I said, NPR is standing by their reporter after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused her of lying. It is the latest in a growing list of incidents involving Pompeo and journalists.
Joining me now to discuss, CNN Contributor Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson. Rick is the author of “Running Against the Devil.” Good evening, gents. Good to see both of you.
So, quite the story that we have here. Secretary of Pompeo is calling Kelly — calling her a liar but she says that she told them that she would — not only did she ask about Ukraine and she followed up in writing but she says that she never agreed for the exchange after the interview off the record.
So, Rick, who do you think is a liar here?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, Mike Pompeo has become one of the high priests of Trumpism. In the core of Trumpism is a war on the media. And so I think Mike Pompeo is trying to cast himself as this hero and to please Donald Trump. This isn’t about whether or not she could correctly identify Ukraine on a map, this is part of their performative, you know, media hatred that they engaged on the daily.
LEMON: Wajahat, I want to bring you in. Mary Louise Kelly told NPR, an NPR co-host that before ending the interview, Pompeo, quote, leaned in and glared at her and then he tried to give her a pop quiz. I mean, what is with this intimidation mode?
WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, this is the pathetic insecurity of the spineless amoebas of men such as Mike Pompeo and the other men in Trump’s administration, right?
I mean, look, this is a recurring theme with Pompeo. He tried to intimidate a female reporter of the USA Today in May, he really doesn’t like it when female reporters in particular actually asking questions in our intelligence and do follow-ups. Our colleague in an affiliate in Nashville in August, same thing happened, and this time around he throws F bombs, he brings out a map. I mean, why does he have a map of without countries? That’s so strange. And then she points it out. And who should we believe? Mary Louise Kelly, a veteran journalist or Mike Pompeo who this month alone has lied to the American public about imminent threats, right? And this man from Harvard has redefined imminent in a way which is completely the opposite of imminent. And then it was imminent threat to not imminent then one embassy then four embassies. No casualties, 11 casualties, and now 34 casualties with soldiers suffering very traumatic brain injuries.
So, who are you going to believe o? Mike Pompeo or Mary Louise Kelly who has the tapes? I’m going with Mary Louise Kelly.
LEMON: OK. So let’s see. Let’s look at the — OK. In the statement, Rick, the last line Pompeo’s statement says, it is worth noting that Bangladesh is not Ukraine. First of all, Kelly has a master’s degree in European studies from Cambridge University.
LEMON: Also, he doesn’t really say that she couldn’t identify Ukraine on a map. He insinuates — it’s just a petty attempt to put her down, right? Is that what this is?
WILSON: Of course. Of course. It’s — he’s just trying to demean her, and obviously it’s false. And look, he also knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it. He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world, and so that’s partly him playing to their base and playing to their audience, you know, credulous boomer rube demo that back Donald Trump, that wants to think that Donald Trump’s a smart one, and y’all — y’all elitists are dumb.
ALI: You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling even though —
WILSON: Your math, your reading.
ALI: Yes, your reading, you know. Your geography knowing other countries. Sipping your latte.
WILSON: All those lines on the map.
ALI: Only them elitists know where Ukraine is. Sorry. I apologize.
LEMON: Oh my god.
ALI: But you know what — it was Rick’s fault. I blame Rick.
LEMON: Oh my God.
ALI: But in all honesty —
WILSON: Blame Rick, why not.
ALI: — you know what NPR should do.
LEMON: Sorry, hold on. Wait, wait. Give me a second. Hold on. Hold on. That was good. Sorry. Rick, that was a good one. I needed that.