Don Lemon Freaks Out Over Trump Sons Attending SCOTUS Nomination

CNN’s immediate reaction to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Tuesday night was surprisingly neutral, in fact, they almost seemed to laud the pick and the presentation. But later that night, the outlet’s Don Lemon seemed desperate to hammer the president as he grilled his panel on the attendance of Trump’s sons Don Jr. and Eric. “Some reporters also tweeted pictures of them speaking with Senator Orrin Hatch,” he warned, “What do you make of their attendance?

Most of his panel members didn’t have an issue with Trump’s adult children being there and seemed confused as to why Lemon was making such a big deal of it. “President Trump has promised that he would separate himself from his businesses,” Lemon ranted, “Eric and Donald won’t be involved in his political agenda, that’s what he said, or he won't be involved in the businesses as well.

Out of the four commentators on his panel, only Carl Bernstein shared his outrage at their presence. “If Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and Clinton Foundation had the same arrangements that Donald Trump and his children have now with their billion dollar businesses impeachment proceedings would be brewing,” he declared while sounding offended, “How in the world is this president going to get away with what is beyond a conflict of interest, it is abhorrent.

The other three tried to talk Lemon down, with Mark Preston saying “No, I don’t. I mean, there are greater issues.” “He's president of the United States, his sons wanted to come and mark this historic moment. He doesn’t get too many Supreme Court picks. It's a big deal. It’s a big function of the office,” argued David Chalian. Gloria Borger backed him up noting, “But it's a historic moment.”

But Lemon was un-phased by their logic. “It's not the inauguration. Come on,” he snapped, “Okay, so another historic moment and then another and then another.” The CNN host went on the defensive after it became evident that most of his guests didn’t share is opinion. “I’m just playing devil's advocate…” he stated.

He also tried to re-write what happened at the SCOTUS announcement to solicit the response he was looking for. “Let’s just say it wasn’t his sons and it was the people running his business and they weren’t related to him. Would you want them showing up and mingling and talking to Senators,” he wondered.

Borger really busted Lemon’s bubble when she explained to the rest of the panel:

If I was nominating someone to the Supreme Court, I think, I would hope my kids might want to watch it. To tell you the truth. Because it’s a moment of importance, historic importance. And if you can get a seat there because your father happens to be president go for it… You know, if the boys want to call up Orrin Hatch they’ll get him on the phone. Trust me. So, I think there is an apple and orange here. In my humble opinion.

Lemon’s only counter was to bring up an unprovable hypothetical scenario of what he would do in Trump’s situation. “If I was president of the United States and kids were running my business, would tell them not to show up, doesn't look good,” he claimed. Making this argument shattered his claim that he was only "playing devil's advocate" because it exposed his opinion about what Trump should have done. 

For an event hardly criticized by his colleagues, Lemon was obviously grasping-at-straws to find something negative to whine about. 

Transcript below: 

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CNN Tonight
January 31, 2017
10:52:17 PM eastern

DON LEMON: Wanted to ask you guys about this: Trump's two sons, Donald Jr., Eric sitting in the audience for tonight's announcement. And they both tweeted about, you know, this from the White House. Some reporters also tweeted pictures of them speaking with Senator Orrin Hatch. President Trump has promised that he would separate himself from his businesses. Eric and Donald won’t be involved in his political agenda, that’s what he said, or he won't be involved in the businesses as well. What do you make of their attendance?

MARK PRESTON: I don't have issue with them attending.

LEMON: And speaking with lawmakers?

PRESTON: No, I don’t. I mean, there are greater issues.

CARL BERNSTEIN: Let’s look at the bigger picture. If Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and Clinton Foundation had the same arrangements that Donald Trump and his children have now with there billion dollar businesses impeachment proceedings would be brewing. That's the underlying thing. How in the world is this president going to get away with what is beyond a conflict of interest, it is abhorrent.

DAVID CHALIAN: I think, when you're the president of the United States, I don't see this very different than showing up at the inauguration or showing up at the moment that marks your first 100 days. He's president of the United States, his sons wanted to come and mark this historic moment. He doesn’t get too many Supreme Court picks. It's a big deal. It’s a big function of the office.

LEMON: It's not the inauguration. Come on.

GLORIA BORGER: But it's a historic moment.

CHALIAN: It’s a big moment for a president to name a Supreme Court justice.

LEMON: Okay, so another historic moment and then another and then another. It’s kind of like—

[Crosstalk]

I’m just playing devil's advocate when people say, and you know the criticism is, “you guys are normalizing this. This is not normal. He should divest”—

Let’s just say—Let’s just say it wasn’t his sons and it was the people running his business and they weren’t related to him. Would you want them showing up and mingling and talking to Senators?

BORGER: But these are two different things. His kids showing up to watch their father nominate someone to the Supreme Court to me is one thing. And if I was nominating someone to the Supreme Court I think I would hope my kids might want to watch it. To tell you the truth. Because it’s a moment of importance, historic importance. And if you can get a seat there because your father happens to be president go for it.

It is completely separate from what Carl is talking about. And what everyone else is talking about. Which is the conflict of interest issues. You know, if the boys want to call up Orrin Hatch they’ll get him on the phone. Trust me. So, I think there is an apple and orange here. In my humble opinion.

LEMON: If I was president of the United States and kids were running my business, would tell them not to show up, doesn't look good.

BERNSTEIN: It's clear Donald Trump doesn't give a damn. Let’s be realistic.

NB Daily Appointments Judiciary Gorsuch Nomination Conspiracy Theories Labeling CNN CNN Tonight Video David Chalian Mark Preston Don Lemon Gloria Borger Carl Bernstein Donald Trump

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