CNN on Monday called Donald Trump's attacks on Don Lemon "sad" after the president referred to the network anchor as the "dumbest man on television" while dismissing a New York Times report that claimed he "hate-watches" Lemon.
"In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself," CNN said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
"Leaders should lead by example," CNN added.
The back-and-forth started after a New York Times piece, "Inside Trump's Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation," claimed Trump watches at least four hours of TV a day, and he sometimes "hate-watches" CNN, especially Lemon, to get worked up.
Trump disputed the account on Twitter Monday morning.
Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day – Wrong! Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the "dumbest man on television!" Bad Reporting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2017
The Times responded by saying it stood by its reporting.
We stand by our reporting, sourced from interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress. https://t.co/Zj9pN2Hcv2
— The New York Times Communications (@NYTimesPR) December 11, 2017