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CNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism

CNN anchor Don LemonDon Carlton LemonClub for Growth bashes CNN in social media ad CNN ramps up streaming plans ahead of Discovery merger: report Second person arrested in assault of Jewish man near Times Square MORE on Tuesday night addressed a segment from the weekend that drew criticism from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE in which the host laughed after a guest mocked supporters of the president.

"Ask anyone who knows me," Lemon said at the end of his show Tuesday while addressing the segment. "They'll tell you: I don't believe in belittling people ... for who they are, for what they believe or where they're from."

Lemon said that while he found the "joke" from the guest to be funny at the time, he "didn't catch everything that was said."

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"I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people," he concluded.

During a segment on Saturday, Lemon had a panel discussion with GOP strategist Rick Wilson and New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali. Both Wilson and Ali have been staunch critics of Trump during his presidency.

Lemon laughed after Wilson said, "Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter 'U' and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it."

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Wilson kept going, calling Trump supporters "the credulous boomer rube demo."

The interaction drew the ire of Trump, who retweeted the segment early Tuesday morning, adding, "Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television (with terrible ratings!)."

Others on social media also criticized the segment, including former CNN senior digital producer Steve Krakauer.

"If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened," he tweeted.