Wajahat Ali, Don Lemon, and Rick Wilson

NYT contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali, “CNN Tonight” host Don Lemon, and Never Trumper Rick Wilson – 1/25/2020. Screen grab via CNN.

CNN aired a revealing segment from Don Lemon’s program Saturday night that perhaps more than anything I’ve ever seen perfectly demonstrates why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The recent dustup between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly was the topic of conversation. To quickly recap before we get into what happened during the segment, here’s what allegedly happened between Pompeo and Kelly last Friday after an interview:

During a roughly 10-minute interview, Kelly asked Pompeo a number of questions on U.S. policy in Iran and on Pompeo’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal at the center of President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Kelly asked whether Pompeo owed an apology to former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch for her unceremonious ouster from her post in Ukraine.
[…]
Pompeo responded tersely and reportedly met with Kelly afterward behind closed doors, yelling at her for asking questions about Ukraine.

“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,” Kelly recounted on NPR. “He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”

Here’s the statement Pompeo released in the aftermath of the controversy:

Obviously, we have a he said/she said here but of course mainstream media types are rushing to Kelly’s side, and that includes Lemon, NYT op-ed writer Wajahat Ali, and Never Trumper Rick Wilson. Both Ali and Wilson are regulars on CNN.

After a seemingly “serious” discussion of the Pompeo/Kelly interview and what was alleged to have been said afterwards, Lemon – who treated Kelly as a female reporter who should be considered above reproach, turned to Wilson to ask him if Pompeo’s accusation was just an attempt at “putting her down.” Wilson’s answer set off a chain reaction of barbs against Trump and his base of supporters that had Lemon crying with laughter.

Here’s how the back and forth went:

DON LEMON: First of all, (Mary Louise) Kelly has a masters degree in European Studies from Cambridge University. Also, he (Mike Pompeo) doesn’t really say that she couldn’t identify Ukraine on a map, he insinuates it’s just a — it’s just a petty attempt to put her down, right? Is that what this is?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Of course — of course. 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 the picture of an actual physical crane next to it. He knows that this is a, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world, and so that’s part of him playing to their base and playing to their audience, you know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump — that wants to think that (Wilson does impersonation) “Donald Trump’s the smart one, and y’all — y’all elitists are dumb!”

Host Lemon lost control and laughed hysterically as Wilson and liberal CNN contributor Wajahat Ali went back and forth doing impersonations of Trump voters saying dumb things:

Watch the segment below:

When I watched the video, it reminded me of why I left the NeverTrump movement not long after Trump was elected. I was never formally a part of it, like Wilson, Ana Navarro, Jen Rubin, and others. I just kind of did my own thing. Did not make a dime off of it, unlike the above mentioned folks.

But not long after Trump won, I came to a few realizations about why. Because up until that point so many Republican voters felt let down by previous Republican nominees for president because they wouldn’t stand up to Democrats nor the mainstream media when they treated them with the double standards they so often display.

In short, Republican voters decided in 2016 that if Democrats and the media wanted to play hardball, that Republicans themselves were going to pick someone who would give it right back to them, flaws and all.

Not only that, but after Trump won I said to myself: Okay, he’s the president now. Since he’s there, I’ll judge him by what he says and does. I knew there would be some things he said and did that I would like, and some things that I wouldn’t.

This is not the way the professional Never Trumpers of the world operate, which I also came to realize soon after November 2016. It’s gone way beyond criticizing Trump on policy to actively working to elect Democrats while demeaning every single person who voted for him, insinuating they’re all a bunch of racist, toothless country bumpkin hicks who didn’t even graduate from high school.

All while laughing all the way to the bank.

These Never Trumpers will tell you they aren’t getting rich off of what they do, and that with the “job” comes threats from people who disagree – insinuating there is no benefit to what they are doing. But while the latter part about threats is unfortunate, it happens to pretty much any public figure in politics on either side, and unfortunately comes with the territory.

But the part about getting rich is true in spite of what they tell you otherwise. It’s a lucrative industry. Between the commentating, book deals, guest speaking invites, the cocktail circuit revolving door, etc.

Twitter users absolutely unloaded on Lemon, Wilson, and Ali for their disgusting behavior (the kind of behavior Lemon, Wilson, and Ali are quick to condemn as “deplorable” when it comes from Trump and/or his supporters):

RedState’s Joe Cunningham also wrote a lengthy thread condemning the trio, which you can read here.

Sister Toldjah
North Carolina-based Sister Toldjah, a former liberal, has been writing about media bias, social issues, and the culture wars since 2003. Follow her on Parler here.
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