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CNN's Don Lemon: 'The president of the United States is racist'

CNN host Don Lemon began his show Thursday night by labeling President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE “racist” following reports that the president called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.”

“The president of the United States is racist,” Lemon said at the opening of his show. “A lot of us already knew that.”

Lemon was responding to reports from The Washington Post and other media outlets that Trump referred to immigrants from Haiti and African countries as coming from “shithole countries.”

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“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said in an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers while discussing protections for immigrants from several countries.

Trump then reportedly said that the U.S. should bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with the previous day.

Lemon called those remarks “disgusting.”

“There’s other language I’d like to use, but we are on television,” Lemon said. “But you know what? They’re not shocking. They’re not even really surprising. Because this is who Donald Trump is.”

Earlier Thursday, fellow CNN host Anderson Cooper slammed Trump’s remarks, calling them “racist.”

In a statement Thursday, the White House did not deny Trump’s “shithole” comments.

Trump’s remarks sparked outrage from both sides of the aisle, with Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (R-Utah) calling on Trump to give a “detailed explanation” for his remarks and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) calling Trump’s comment “racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy.”

Lemon has criticized Trump on the topic before. In November, the CNN host tore into Trump for calling Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (D-Mass.) "Pocahontas" during a White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers.

“Just because you say you’re not racist doesn’t make it so,” Lemon said after playing a clip of Trump claiming that he is "the least racist person that you have ever met."