CNN's Don Lemon echoes Obama: 'What happened to the Republican Party?'

CNN's Don Lemon echoes Obama: 'What happened to the Republican Party?'
© Getty Images

CNN host Don Lemon on Friday night echoed portions of former President Obama's speech earlier in the day blasting President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE.

"That is a great question. 'What happened to the Republican Party?' " Lemon said on his show, using a phrase Obama used during his speech at the University of Illinois.

The CNN host played several video clips of GOP senators and Trump allies previously criticizing Trump before his electoral victory.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lemon showed an old clip of Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE (R-S.C.) calling Trump a “kook” who was “unfit” for office, comparing it a November 2017 clip of Graham criticizing the media for labeling Trump a “kook.”

“He’s the one who said ‘kook’ in the first place,” Lemon laughed. “You can’t make this up.”

Lemon also pointed to the relationship between Trump and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Ted Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Overnight Health Care: Democratic bill would require insurance to cover OTC birth control | House Dems vote to overturn ban on fetal tissue research | New rule aims to expand health choices for small businesses MORE (R-Texas), who were fierce rivals during the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

The host noted that Trump suggested during the campaign that Cruz's father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination and retweeted a tweet critical of Cruz's wife's appearance.

“It’s not easy to tick me off,” Cruz said in a 2016 clip aired by CNN. “I don’t get angry often. But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that’ll do it every time. Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Lemon compared Cruz’s 2016 rhetoric to a glowing piece the Texas senator wrote about Trump for Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people earlier this year.

The CNN host also showed a video clip of presidential adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate Trump says he will not fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act violations MORE, one of Trump's fiercest defenders, previously criticizing Trump's attacks on Heidi Cruz during the GOP primary.

“My, how things have changed, my how the Republican Party has changed,” Lemon said Friday. “You heard them tell us, before the election, what to expect from Donald Trump. You heard President Obama tell us. And you’ve heard and you’ve seen President Trump.”

Lemon praised portions of Obama's speech Friday going after Trump, including Obama's line calling out his successor for his rhetoric following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year.

"We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers," Obama said. "How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad."

"Amen, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAren't delirious Democrats now accusing Team Obama of treason? Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 HHS restores legal meaning of 'sex' — what will US Supreme Court, Congress do? MORE," Lemon echoed.