“CNN This Morning” co-host Don Lemon will be back in his regular chair on Wednesday, network CEO Chris Licht told employees in an email sent on Monday — but he will undergo “formal training” after comments he made late last week sparked a firestorm of outrage on both sides of the aisle.
“I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation,” Licht said in a statement that was published in an article by CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy. “He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.”
“It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with … fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to ‘CNN This Morning’ on Wednesday,” he concluded.
Lemon, 56, sparked outrage — first from his co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, and then from a host of others on either side of the political aisle — when he claimed that former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) was no longer “in her prime” at 51 years old.
Haley, who announced her bid last week for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, suggested that many American politicians were not “in their prime” and proposed a cognitive test for those who were over 75 years old when they ran for office — and Lemon said that the idea of bringing age into the conversation made him uncomfortable.
“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable,” Lemon said. “I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime,” Lemon said during the broadcast. “Sorry, when a woman is in their prime [is] in [their] 20s and 30s and maybe 40s…”
Harlow and Collins were visibly taken aback by the comments, and both objected even as he doubled down.
“Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s, and 40s,” Lemon continued. “I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is.”
Haley was unfazed by the attack, responding, “I have always made the liberals’ heads explode. They can’t stand the fact that a minority, conservative, female would not be on the Democratic side.”
Nikki Haley responding to Don Lemon’s comments about her on CNN:
“I have always made the liberals’ heads explode. They can’t stand the fact that a minority, conservative, female would not be on the Democratic side.” pic.twitter.com/p8FY7eqOgT
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 17, 2023