CNN anchor Don Lemon criticized Ice Cube for his involvement with President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, causing the rapper to lash out on Twitter and issue a challenge to meet on Lemon’s show.
Lemon opened Friday night’s edition of CNN Tonight by bantering with colleague Chris Cuomo about a just-concluded interview with the rap and film star, who has been facing intense criticism ever since the Trump campaign announced — with his permission — that the rapper advised them on President Donald Trump’s “Platinum Plan” for Black America.
Lemon couched his criticism in respectful terms, telling Cuomo “I don’t want to disrespect him, he’s very accomplished, I’ve only met him a few times, nice guy.”
“But one needs to know what one is talking about,” he continued. “One needs to educate oneself on just what is, other than the basics about capital, which is important, about voting, which is important, and so on and so forth. So you have to be careful who you align yourself with. So you have to educate yourself about that.”
He went on to say that the Trump campaign, in an effort to peel off some Black support, “is trying to pit African Americans against Hispanics or against immigrants by saying immigrants are taking your jobs.”
“They’re trying to appeal to African American men, I should say, men,” Lemon noted, adding “They know that they cannot get the women so they’re not targeting African-American women.”
He went on to call the Trump strategy “too cute by half,” noting “There is the money, as you so rightly pointed out, and in the Trump plan it is not specifically earmarked for anything, it’s not specific. Certainly not for blacks.”
“If you listen to the town hall last night, what Joe Biden said, he has specifics on how he’s going to help the black community, where the money is going to go to, what kinds of coalitions he’s trying to build. The Trump plan does not have that,” Lemon added.
He also cautioned against drawing distinctions between Black people based on whether they are or are not descended from slaves, then returned to Cube’s involvement with the Trump campaign.
“I just think the people need to be educated, you have to understand, be cognizant of how you may be used by certain people for a certain effect,” he said, and later reiterated the point by addressing the rapper directly.
Conceding that Cube has made it clear he’s not “affiliated” with the Trump campaign, Lemon said “There’s a reason why most Black people don’t align themselves with the Trump philosophy… and I think that, listen, quite frankly Cube, you have to recognize that. I respect him, and if he’s listening or watching, that he’s trying to ultimately help people, but it is important in the way you do it as well, and with whom you do it, and I just think that you have to be careful about being used, because if it was truly just about helping people, the person who tweeted it out and said ‘Oh thanks for helping’ or whatever the Trump representative [Senior adviser Katrina Pierson] did, wanted black men to know because Cube is a rapper and he has a lot of Black support, especially from men, wanted people to know that and again, it is too cute by half philosophy. I think it’s quite obvious what’s going on, but there you have it.”
Cube responded on Twitter by thanking Cuomo for the interview, and lashing out at Lemon.
“Thank you Chris @CuomoPrimeTime you’re a man of your word,” he wrote. “@donlemon that was some punks ass shit you just did. If you have any balls. I need to be on your show Monday night at 10pm. I’ll be ready.”
— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 17, 2020
Watch the clip above via CNN.
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