No Time For Krauthammer on Lemon's Two-Hour CNN Show

June 22nd, 2018 3:55 PM

Late Thursday afternoon, news broke of Charles Krauthammer’s death after a battle with cancer. While Krauthammer was a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, Pulitzer Prize winner, Fox News contributor, and best-selling author, CNN host Don Lemon could not spare a single second of his two-hour show to the passing of the beloved pundit.

After reviewing the 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET hours of Lemon’s Thursday night program, NewsBusters discovered the late columnist received no words from the host, kind or otherwise. More attention was given to First Lady Melania Trump’s jacket incident earlier that day, rather than the late doctor who helped classify bipolar disorder. The CNN anchor dedicated seven minutes of airtime towards discussing the jacket and what it meant.



Krauthammer was injured during his first year of medical school in a diving accident. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down, he graduated on time, and near the top of his class. His dedication to hard work despite adversity translated to politics, where he started writing speeches for Vice President Walter Mondale just two years after moving to Washington, D.C. He is also credited for coining the term “The Reagan Doctrine.”

Despite the loss of a such an influential figure, Lemon could not help but focus on criticizing the First Lady's fashion choice.

Read the full transcript of the June 21 panel discussion about Trump’s jacket below:


CNN Tonight with Don Lemon


10:29:55- 10:36:58 PM EST (7:05)


DON LEMON: The first lady's surprise visit today with immigrant children at a shelter in Texas eclipsed by her fashion choice. Before and after her trip the first lady wore an olive green jacket with the phrase "I really don't care. Do you?" printed on the back. So let's talk about this now with Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, and Kate Bennett, CNN White House reporter. Good evening.



LEMON: I'm perplexed by this, and torn. I'll explain later. You travel, Kate, with the first lady today, and she was trying to highlight the good work the shelter is doing for immigrant children, but her choice of jacket really, that's what got the attention. And we showed the pictures -- let's bring it up again, as she boarded the plane. Plainly visible on the back was, I really don't care. Do you? I mean, of all the jackets she no doubt owns, why this one?

BENNETT: It's perplexing, Don. I'm going to agree with you there. I'm really quite honestly not sure. And I follow the First Lady very closely. I cover her. I have for, you know, over a year. And I often talk about her fashion choices which many pay homage to the countries she's visiting, or are very well thought out in terms of, you know, what she's wearing. She's a former fashion model. She understands fashion. I don't get it. The work we saw today, the shelter, the kids she interacted with, her determination behind the scenes to make this trip happen in less than 48 hours, all of those things to me are paramount to what she wore. However, you know, I can't really explain this. I do think it was very much like her -- like this independent First Lady that we have seen before to get off the plane wearing it again knowing full of the controversy. She's sort of like the President that way. If you punch her, she punches back twice as hard kind of thing. But certainly the messaging, you know, I'm perplexed.

LEMON: Yes. So here's the thing. We are not actually talking about children in cages now. We are talking about the jacket.


LEMON: But she is the First Lady of the United States. People are going to look to her. Remember when the former First Lady wore sleeveless, and everyone, freaked out. And you know, there were no words there. Everybody ended up wearing sleeveless dresses after that. Maybe people will wear jackets that say, I don't care, I don't know. But when you are going to a shelter, and you want people to care about it -- I don't know.

CILLIZZA: OK. Point one. We can walk and chew gum. I think Kate is exactly right. What is -- the key here is what is the policy that this executive order Donald Trump signed, what is the impact that is going to have on the family separation crisis? That's a self-created crisis based on the zero tolerance policy. That's the most important thing, OK? There is no question about that. That said, it is not unimportant when the First Lady of the United States does something like this. It seems to me unlikely -- very unlikely -- that this was purely accidental. Kate makes a good point. This is someone who throughout her life, and certainly while in politics, albeit not all that willingly in politics, but in the political sphere, someone who understands image. Understands the signals you send when you are in public by what you say, by don't say, by what you wear. It just seems odd to me that she would just kind of grab that at the last minute while walking out and/or that no one on her staff would say, Madam First Lady, you know, that may not be like the greatest choice ever for a jacket. So we can do both.


CILLIZZA: One is more important. But that doesn't mean we need to ignore the other. LEMON: By the way, remember, you guys may have disagreed. I'm not sure if remember this issue. I defended the white hat. I was like, listen, she's the First Lady. I thought the hat was great. This was -- I really don't get it. Was it cold in D.C. today?

BENNETT: It was not cold in D.C. when we got on the plane. We were prepared on the trip to expect thunderstorms, and there was flash flooding when we got to Texas actually. You know, again, I think, this is just a puzzling moment. And I think Chris is right with the messaging.

LEMON: Who is she sending a message to by the way, who do you think?

BENNETT: It's very unclear. I don't -- I don't think she -- I don't necessarily know or think that she might be sending a purposeful message, but the message we as the public see our First Lady delivering whether intended or not is certainly crippling to this important day. And quite frankly, this is yet -- it was another huge surprise much like her medical procedure that her office pulled off without anyone finding out, this trip was planned in less than 48 hours, to make it happen is a feat in and of itself. Certainly, you know, we didn't see the jacket when we got on -- when she got on the plane because we were under the wing. We didn't have the visual of it. I saw some writing, but in no way ever thought it said what it said.

LEMON: By the way, the First Lady's spokesperson said -- Stephanie Grisham said there is nothing to read into the choice of jacket.





CILLIZZA: So -- OK. So, that's a statement, right? It's a jacket, no hidden message. And there was a tweet as well that basically said basically the same thing. And I would say for people who say why are you talking about it, the President of the United States is talking about it. Look at that timing. That's called great producing on your part, Don. I really don't care that you written at a back of (Inaudible), he's directly contradicting Stephanie Grisham. Stephanie Grisham said there is no message. It was totally unintentional. Donald Trump said, of course there was a message. She's on to you fake news media. I mean it's like...

LEMON: You're welcome for that moment. It was actually directing and producing.

CILLIZZA: I mean...

LEMON: But listen, I just -- again, I didn't want to beat up on the First Lady. I'm not doing that. But it is -- it is really perplexing when you consider the kind of story that she was going down there for, and to wear that jacket.


LEMON: The very least it's tone deaf. My thing is, why are you criticizing the media when you asked the question? There is a big question mark on the back of your jacket that says, do you? So when the American people answer, the question saying I do, and why are you -- why are you wearing that jacket, you should not be outraged by it.

BENNETT: And also, quite frankly, Don, we would ask the question if Michelle Obama had worn the jacket.

LEMON: Anyone.

BENNETT: And if Laura Bush had worn the jacket.

CILLIZZA: A hundred percent.


BENNETT: This is not necessarily something that we would let slide certainly because there is an animosity between the media, and this administration. It is our job to ask these questions. This is the First Lady. She is going to meet these children. Again, she didn't wear it in Texas. However, it's our job.

LEMON: That could be a simple -- I don't know.

CILLIZZA: That's important. There is no way...

LEMON: I've got to run.

CILLIZZA: If Michelle Obama wore a jacket that said, I don't really care. Do you? We would be talking about it at 10:01. I mean, it would be a big story either way. This is not a partisan thing.

LEMON: Could be a simple explanation for it, trolling at its very best. It happens a lot lately. Thank you both.