Don Lemon: 'Right-winger' responsible for synagogue shooting; 'I don't see Democrats killing people'

Don Lemon: 'Right-winger' responsible for synagogue shooting; 'I don't see Democrats killing people'
© CNN

CNN anchor Don Lemon said Monday night that you can't compare a supporter of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) who attempted to kill Republican lawmakers last year to a "right-winger" suspected in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the "right-winger" who allegedly sent bombs to the network and Democrats.

Lemon added during a panel discussion on his primetime program that he doesn't "see Democrats killing people." 

The debate began after CNN political commentator Mark Shields argued that assigning blame to anyone but the shooter in the Saturday massacre in Pittsburgh is "outrageous" and "disgusting."

ADVERTISEMENT

Lemon disagreed, stating the Sanders supporter who wounded four Republicans including House Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night MORE (R-La.) during a congressional baseball practice can't be compared to the suspected synagogue shooter or the Florida man who allegedly who sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN because "Bernie Sanders is not the president of the United States."

“This is not equal," Lemon said after some back-and-forth with Shields. "The right-wing group killed a woman in Charlottesville. This guy is a right-winger who killed the people in the synagogue. The right-winger sent bombs to CNN and to Democrats."

"I don’t see Democrats killing people because of political, yeah ---- maybe Democratic operatives who are out there.”

"But they tried to," Shields corrected.

“Okay, they tried to, and that’s not right,” Lemon replied. “But for the most part, what do you see here, Mike? You see these extreme right-wingers and then instead of denouncing them and saying it’s just wrong, you make people think that it’s okay, that you’re making an excuse for, because then you go, ‘But what about the Democrats?’ when is no comparison. There is no equivalence there!”

Shields insisted he was not excusing anything and was only attempting to make a point around rhetoric from both sides contributing to the rising political temperature in the country.

Scalise retweeted an article summarizing Lemon's comments with wide googly eyes Tuesday.

Shields and Lemon's debate came before outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyIs Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? Judd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death MORE took to Twitter to call out those pointing the finger at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE's rhetoric for the synagogue shooting, noting that former President Obama was not blamed after a mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., during his time in office.

“I have struggled w/ what happened in Pitts bc it’s so similar to what happened in Chas. The country was very racially divided @ the time," Haley, a former South Carolina governor, tweeted late Monday. "We didn’t once blame Pres. Obama. We focused solely on the lives lost & their families. Have some respect for these families & stop the blame,” added Haley, who will step down at the end of the year.