Don Lemon calls out Trump for dubbing himself a ‘nationalist’: Term loaded with ‘racial undertones’

CNN anchor Don Lemon criticized President Trump after the president dubbed himself a “nationalist” at a rally Monday night in Houston.

“You know what a globalist is? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much,” Trump said. “And you know what, we can’t have that.”

{mosads}”You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” the president continued. “And I say, ‘Really, we’re not supposed to use that word?’ You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. … Use that word.”

Lemon started his segment with a clip from the rally before chuckling and responding, “Wow.”

“We’re going to talk about that word tonight,” Lemon said. “It is a favorite of the alt-right and is loaded with nativist and racial undertones. And ‘globalist.’ Well, globalist has been used as a slur of sorts, sometimes even against those in the administration, often with anti-Semitic overtones. Which just happened to make the president come right out and embrace nationalism. Openly. And claim that mantle.”

As Lemon introduced a panel, he again started laughing over the footage.

CNN contributor and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni questioned whether the term was being used as a “dog whistle” by Trump, but said the president is a “sloppy speaker” and may not be thinking through all the connotations associated with it.

“He is trying to do the ‘America first’ thing, and he is trying to lend a new vocabulary to it, and now he has brought in nationalist and maybe it’s a dog whistle to racists and such. Maybe he is just speaking sloppily,” Bruni said.

Trump has faced repeated criticism for his rhetoric on racial issues, particularly following the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. He said there was “blame on both sides” for the deadly violence that took place at the white nationalist event.

Trump was in Houston to rally for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is facing off against Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in a race that is getting national attention.

Tags Donald Trump Ted Cruz
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