CNN anchor Don Lemon said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t have shaken President Trump’s hand at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, saying he “can’t fake the funk.”
“I’m going to say that I don’t think I would shake hands with him. I would just … nope, couldn’t do it. I’m not that big a person,” Lemon told Chris Cuomo during the handoff of the network’s 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. programs, “I would hope that I would be, but I don’t — I can’t fake the funk, as they say.”
“They showed the ultimate respect for the office,” Lemon added in reference to the Obamas. “They do not have to show respect for someone who does not respect them.”
Lemon’s comments came after President Trump and first lady Melania Trump greeted the Obamas and shook hands when sitting down next to them in the front row of the service for George H.W. Bush, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94. There was no greeting between the Trumps and former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sat farther down.
After Chris Cuomo said that it would have been rude for the Obamas to dismiss a sitting president in that situation, Don Lemon doubled down on his statement.
“I’m not petty and small. That’s real, brother. That’s real,” the 52-year-old “CNN Tonight” anchor said. “This is not about ideology. This is about the way someone conducts themselves. If you constantly called me names, and you were rude to me, and you — why should I have to show you respect at all?”
Lemon then went on further saying he wouldn’t have invited President Trump to the 41st president’s funeral if he were in the Bush family.
“An office is not a human being. I don’t think it’s respect for the human being if you talk smack about them, if you say the nastiest things about them, if you treat them as subhuman, and then you want to show up at their funeral. Really? Hell to the no,” Lemon said.
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