Don Lemon slammed Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy on CNN Thursday night for using rhetoric that he said was “racist” and “bigoted.”
Lemon was discussing the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the United States when he slammed the representative for comments that he made during a hearing about hate crimes.
“But you really only need to hear congressman Chip Roy to understand how big the problem of race is in this country. Right smack in the middle of a hearing on discrimination and hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders he equates justice with lynching and then makes it all about himself,” Lemon said. “Launching into a defense of exactly the kind of rhetoric the hearing was supposed to be condemning.” (RELATED: ‘Is It Really Republican Racists Doing This?’: Tucker, Ying Ma Take On ‘Lie’ That Attacks On Asians Are Trump-Inspired)
“We believe in justice,” Roy said during the hearing about hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. “There’s old sayings in Texas about, you know, find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously and we ought to do that, round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe.”
Roy said that he had concerns that the hearing “seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society” and expressed concerns that the hearing was more about controlling “free speech” than about “the rule of law and taking out bad guys.”
“I’m not going to be ashamed of saying I oppose the chi-coms, I oppose the Chinese communist party, and when we say things like that … we shouldn’t be worried about having a committee of members of Congress policing our rhetoric.”
After scolding Roy for not wearing his mask properly, Lemon told Roy to “lay off the talk” about lynching.
“You can still say you oppose the Chinese communist party, you know,” Lemon said. “That’s not what this is about. It’s not about Chip Roy. It’s not about the people who have a voice and a platform. It’s about hate … it’s about violence.”
“People don’t want to be discriminated against but you’re so aggrieved because you can’t say something offensive because you want to say offensive things with impunity,” he continued. “Then when you are checked on it, when you have to face the consequences for it you scream, cancel, I’m canceled.”
“No, you weren’t canceled. You were held accountable,” Lemon added. “You said something stupid. And you must pay the consequences for it. That’s how it works.”
Lemon noted that Democratic New York Rep. Grace Meng said that what Roy said during the hearing “is putting a bull’s eye on the backs of Asian-Americans.” Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu also condemned Roy’s statements.
“It’s always some excuse,” Lemon continued. “For saying some B.S., for being racist or bigoted or letting it slip. Maybe these days, I don’t know if it’s letting it slip, people just say it. That’s what the former president did.”