CNN anchor Don Lemon openly questioned his network on Tuesday for airing President Donald Trump’s early afternoon remarks live, saying he felt like he was “not sure if we should be running this propaganda” as Americans were still casting their ballots.
Hours ahead of polls closing on Election Day, the president visited his Virginia campaign headquarters, delivering a short speech and briefly addressing reporters. Sounding somewhat resigned as poll numbers show him trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden—even saying “losing is never easy” at one point—the president nonetheless raged about the Supreme Court allowing vote-counting extensions in Pennsylvania.
“There was a lot to fact check there because basically, we heard a lot of propaganda from the president of the United States and I’m sure you can help me through it,” Lemon said to fellow anchor Erin Burnett after the speech, which CNN carried in its entirety.
Lemon, meanwhile, noted that Pennsylvania’s GOP-majority legislature made the decision to not count early-vote ballots until after the polls close, reiterating that the president was peddling “propaganda” as voters headed to the polls.
“There’s nothing unusual about the votes being counted after Election Day,” he added. “The specific quote that he said, ‘Winning is easy, losing is never easy,’ especially for me, I think that’s very telling.”
The CNN anchor went on to run down several other comments the president made, such as Trump claiming there’s “tremendous unity” in the country and touting criminal-justice reform, before taking aim at CNN for giving Trump airtime.
“So there’s so much to talk about,” Lemon sighed. “I almost feel like I’m not sure if we should be running this propaganda video as people are still going to the polls to vote today because not much of what he said, if anything, was true.”
Major media outlets have faced internal and external pressure over whether to carry the president live on Election Night, as there are increasing concerns that Trump could prematurely and illegitimately declare victory and essentially force the networks to carry his remarks. While some hosts have said they won’t carry the president’s remarks live, one executive wondered to The Daily Beast, “How does one not cover it?”
Lemon also mildly disagreed with Burnett when she said she “heard a change in tone” from Trump. While Burnett said she sensed that Trump “seemed a bit down” and suggesting he was looking at life after the White House, Lemon claimed it was still classic Trump.
“I didn’t hear a change in tone,” the veteran anchor stated, adding that the president had still lied about coronavirus and the economy.