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 ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNew year brings more liberated Joe Biden  After the loss of three giants of conservation, Biden must pick up the mantle Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage MORE's speech earlier in the day blasting President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report 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 GrahamKyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks 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 CruzAll hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Equilibrium/Sustainability — Bald eagle comeback impacted by lead poison 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 ConwayPennsylvania Republican David McCormick launches Senate campaign McCormick drawing support from Trump alumni ahead of Pennsylvania Senate bid Christie says Trump, Meadows should have warned him of positive COVID-19 test 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 Obama," Lemon echoed.