Don Lemon: Protesters Who Harassed Cruz Were 'People Who Are Upset,' It Wasn't 'Mob Behavior'

October 10, 2018

CNN host Don Lemon on Tuesday night said the protesters who chased Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) out of a Washington, D.C. restaurant late last month were "upset," emphasizing that it wasn't "mob behavior."

Lemon and his panel discussed President Donald Trump's comments, made during his Iowa rally earlier that night, about how Democrats have become a "left wing mob" and how they would turn the United States into Venezuela, referring to its socialist policies.

"Who was he talking about?" Lemon asked.

Democratic strategist Maria Cardona said she believes the "mob" Trump spoke of was the women who protested the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexual misconduct. She argued the women were "trying to tell their stories" in the face of "Republican men" who were making fun of them.

Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist, said the "mob behavior" extended to those chasing officials out of public restaurants.

Matt Lewis, a columnist for the Daily Beast, agreed with Stewart that it was accurate to refer to some of the behavior on the left as mob behavior. He condemned the behavior coming from the left or the right, and he said the difference between him and liberal journalists is he is willing to acknowledge when someone on the right is participating in mob behavior.

"The difference between center-right journalists and liberal activists is, I will admit that it is a mob behavior, it is a mob mentality when Donald Trump and the people say ‘lock her up.’ I’m willing to admit that," Lewis said in reference to "lock her up" chants about Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) at Trump's rally. "I’m waiting for liberals and intellectually honest liberals to admit that when you harass Ted Cruz at a restaurant, that is also mob-like behavior. Why is it that I’m willing to concede that Donald Trump is a bad person and that’s mob behavior, but I never hear liberals come on or center-left journalists come on and concede that?"

Cardona, who served as a senior adviser to Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, agreed with Lewis that it was inappropriate for people to harass elected officials when they are eating meals with their families. Lewis followed up by asking whether she considered it "mob behavior."

"I don't know. How many were there?" asked Cardona before Lemon jumped in, indicating he had to wrap up the segment.

"Let’s show the video, Don. You got some B-roll," Lewis said of the protesters harassing the Cruzes.

"I will answer your question," Lemon responded. "Is it mob behavior? No, it’s not mob behavior. It’s people who are upset and angry with the way the country is going."

Lemon and Lewis proceeded to talk over each other before Lemon said,  "Will you let me finish, Matt, please, before you jump in? Okay? I’m making a point."

"You’re making a point? Are you the moderator or the host, or arguing a liberal talking point?" Lewis asked.

"You can do whatever you want. You can leave the show if you want, but let me finish," Lemon said. "Shut up and let me do it."

This wasn't the first time a CNN host attempted to shut down Lewis for saying liberal activists were acting like a mob. Earlier on Tuesday, host Brooke Baldwin appeared dumbfounded why he would use the "m word."

Oh, you’re not going to use the mob word here," Baldwin said.

"It’s totally a mob," Lewis said. "It is without a doubt. There’s no other word for it."

"Stop, stop," Baldwin said. "A mob is what we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia two Augusts ago. A mob is not what we saw chasing––I’m not saying what they did was right."

"What about the people who were at the Supreme Court banging on the walls?" Lewis asked. "What do you call that? Civil protest? Or is that a mob? I think it’s easily a mob."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D.,Va.) also criticized the word "mob" in an interview with the Hill, saying, "describing political opponents and huge pockets of the electorate as the ‘mob’ is really inciting something ugly."

"And I think it will backfire," he added.