CNN anchor Chris Cuomo blasted his prime-time colleague Don Lemon as “petty and small” Wednesday night after Mr. Lemon declared that he wouldn’t have shaken President Trump’s hand at late President George H.W. Bush’s funeral.
The heated exchange began after Mr. Lemon praised the Obamas as “really classy folks” for shaking the president’s hand at Wednesday’s funeral despite his past criticism of Mr. Obama.
“I want to say that I don’t think I would shake hands with him,” Mr. Lemon admitted. “I would just — nope, couldn’t do it. I’m not that big a person. I would hope that I would be, but I don’t — I can’t fake the funk, as they say.”
Mr. Lemon, whom Mr. Trump once labeled “the dumbest man on television,” went on to claim that the Obamas didn’t have any scandals or “trash” while in the White House, and that they “showed the ultimate respect for the office” but were under no obligation to show respect for the new president.
Mr. Cuomo countered, saying the Obamas weren’t “faking the funk” but “showing respect for something bigger than them.”
“What are you talking about, Chris?” Mr. Lemon fired back. “They do not have to show respect for someone who does not respect them.”
Mr. Lemon then demonstrated with a producer on-set how he would have reacted to Mr. Trump’s outstretched hand: Silence and a single, solemn nod of recognition.
“You’re petty and small,” Mr. Cuomo sneered.
“I’m not petty and small. That’s real, brother,” Mr. Lemon responded.
“Real petty and small,” Mr. Cuomo added.
“This is not about ideology,” Mr. Lemon continued. “This is about the way someone conducts themselves. If you constantly called me names, and you were rude to me, and you did petty — why should I have to show you respect at all?”
“Just call me Petty McPetty,” he added.
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