CNN anchor Don Lemon declared a woman’s prime is in her 20s, 30s or “maybe her 40s” on Thursday’s “CNN This Morning.”
The comment, which gobsmacked his female co-hosts, was in reference to 51-year-old presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s recent claim that people over the age of 75 wishing to serve in the White House should have to prove mental competence. Her potential opponents in 2024, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, are 76 and 80, respectively.
“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry,” Lemon, 56, said on air Thursday morning. ” A woman is said to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe 40s.”
Co-host Poppy Harlow, 40, asked quizzically “Wait … prime for what?”
The show’s third host, 30-year-old Kaitlan Collins, listened silently.
“If you google ‘when is a woman in her prime,’ it’ll say 20s, 30s and 40s,” Lemon continued. “I’m not saying I agree with that.”
Harlow sarcastically celebrated she’d barely made it in under the wire, according to Lemon’s logic, then pushed for an explanation.
“Are you talking about prime for child-bearing or are you talking about prime for being president?” Harlow asked.
Lemon doubled-down on his claim.
“Don’t shoot the messenger,” he said. “I’m just saying what the facts are.”
Social media jumped on Lemon’s statement, prompting a quasi-apology that didn’t go over well, either.
“The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it,” he tweeted Thursday afternoon. “A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”
As several Twitter users noted, Lemon’s “regret” tweet didn’t include the word “sorry” and made no mention of Haley, who shot back at Lemon on Twitter.
“To be clear, I am NOT calling for competency tests for Sexist middle-aged CNN anchors; only for people who make our laws and are 75+,” she responded.
CNN has not responded to a request for comment.
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