Don Lemon’s Clapbacks During Interview With Right-Wing Candidate Played Part in CNN Firing: ‘Whatever Ethnicity You Are’ (Video)

“You are sitting here telling an African American about the rights and what you find insulting about the way I live, the skin I live in every day,” the anchor said in the segment

A tough eight months for Don Lemon only got tougher Monday for the longtime cable news host when he was fired by CNN after 17 years with the network.

The move, announced in a statement by CNN before Lemon posted his own version of the day’s events online, came as a surprise across the news media spectrum and only hours after Lemon had appeared on “CNN This Morning” in his daily role as show host.

But it wasn’t bad ratings after his shift from primetime to mornings or an investigation into his history of inappropriate remarks or behavior in the workplace from a recent report that ultimately toppled Lemon. According to the New York Times, a more recent issue with an on-air interview he was part of last Wednesday in which he casually shot back at an Indian American about “whatever ethnicity you are” played a role in his firing.

CNN leaders who spoke with the New York Times were left “exasperated” by the interview with Vivek Ramaswamy, a right-wing GOP presidential candidate. It started innocently enough. Lemon sat patiently during the opening moments, even demurring to co-host Poppy Harlow that they could move on if needed when asked whether he had any questions. Harlow responded by saying they had time for Lemon to chime in.

The interview soon turned heated as Lemon countered Ramaswamy’s assertions about how Second Amendment considerations played into causes of the Civil War and then Reconstruction.

“Hang on, please,” Lemon said, talking to his producers as he reached for his earpiece. “I cannot keep a thought if you guys are talking in my ear. Hang on one second.”

Lemon then went in on Ramaswamy after he said the NRA had after the Civil War helped recently freed slaves earn Second Amendment freedoms — and even taught some of them how to properly use firearms.

“The NRA did not play a big role in that. That is a lie,” Lemon said as they talked over each other. “That’s a lie. The NRA did not play a big role in that.”

“This is just historical fact, but Don,” Ramaswamy said before being cut off.

“That is not historical fact. Just because you say it’s historical fact does not make it historical fact,” Lemon said.

“The part that I find insulting,” Ramaswamy said, “is when you say today Black Americans don’t have those rights after we have gone through civil rights revolution in this country.”

“The fact that I find insulting,” Lemon said, “is that you are sitting here telling an African American about the rights and what you find insulting about the way I live, the skin I live in every day, and I know the freedoms that Black and white — that Black people don’t have in this country and that Black people do have.”

Ramaswamy then said he thought ideally they should be having the conversation without regard to their ethnicity or color of their skin.

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t express your views,” Lemon said. “But that you’re sitting here, whatever ethnicity you are, splaining to me what it’s like to be Black in America. I’m sorry.”

“Whatever ethnicity I am? I’ll tell you what ethnicity I am, I’m an Indian American,” Ramaswamy said. “I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate, Black, white doesn’t matter.”

“I think we should have this debate,” Lemon said. “But I think you should do it in an honest way.”

Watch more of the segment in video at the top of this post.