CNN's Lemon: I wouldn't have shaken Trump's hand at Bush funeral: 'Can't fake the funk'

CNN anchor Don Lemon declared late Wednesday that he would not have shaken hands with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE at former President George H.W. Bush's funeral, saying he "can't fake the funk" the way former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to lead female celebrity dodgeball team in 'Late Late Show' face-off Obamas sign deal with Spotify to produce podcasts Obamas sign deal with Spotify to produce podcasts MORE did during the proceedings earlier in the day.

"I'm going to say that I don't think I would shake hands with him. I would just ... nope, couldn't do it. I'm not that big a person," Lemon told CNN's Chris Cuomo during the handoff of the network's 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. programs, which usually includes some banter between the two newsmen. "I would hope that I would be, but I don't — I can't fake the funk, as they say."

"They showed the ultimate respect for the office," Lemon added in reference to the Obamas. "They do not have to show respect for someone who does not respect them."

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Lemon's comments came after Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpPress: Why do we need a new press secretary? What President Trump needs in his next press secretary  White House mulling restoring daily press briefing with Sanders replacement: report MORE greeted the Obamas and shook hands when sitting down next to them in the front row of the service for Bush, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94. There was no greeting between the Trumps and former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Facing challenge from Warren, Sanders touts strength against Trump MORE, who sat farther down the row.

After Cuomo said on Wednesday evening that it would have been rude for the Obamas to dismiss a sitting president in that situation, Lemon defended his thought process.

"I'm not petty and small. That's real, brother. That's real," the 52-year-old "CNN Tonight" anchor said. "This is not about ideology. This is about the way someone conducts themselves. If you constantly called me names, and you were rude to me, and you — why should I have to show you respect at all?"

Lemon also argued he wouldn't have invited Trump to the 41st president's funeral if he were in the Bush family.

"An office is not a human being. I don't think it's respect for the human being if you talk smack about them, if you say the nastiest things about them, if you treat them as subhuman, and then you want to show up at their funeral. Really? Hell to the no," Lemon said.

Lemon has been criticized by Trump directly before and since taking office, including several occasions when the president has called him "the dumbest man on television."

"Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump wrote on Twitter in August.

“He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!" he added, referring to Michael Jordan.

Lemon, who is one of Trump's staunchest critics on CNN, often refers to the president as a racist on his prime-time program.

“This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying,” Lemon said in response to Trump in August.

Bush will be laid to rest at his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.