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

CNN's Don Lemon echoes Obama: 'What happened to the Republican Party?'
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CNN host Don Lemon on Friday night echoed portions of former President Obama's speech earlier in the day blasting President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 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.

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Lemon showed an old clip of Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Trump putting TikTok ban on hold for 45 days: report This week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms 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 CruzOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Trump tests GOP loyalty with election tweet and stimulus strategy Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election 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 ConwayWatchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump 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 ObamaThe Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Tuesday's primaries Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Red flags fly high, but Trump ignores them MORE," Lemon echoed.