CNN's Don Lemon Says 'Bully' Trump 'Traffics in Racism' During Fiery Response to LeBron James Tweet

CNN's Don Lemon has hit back at Donald Trump, who called him the "dumbest man on television" after the TV host interviewed basketball star LeBron James.

During the interview, James told Lemon he thought Trump is trying to use sports to divide America by race and that he would never sit down with the current president—though he would with former President Barack Obama.

That prompted a Twitter backlash by Trump, who wrote: "Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do."

On his CNN show Monday night, Lemon called that tweet a "nasty, hateful swipe" and delivered a nine-minute monologue denouncing President Trump, accusing him of being a bully and a racist.

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Don Lemon attends the Point Honors New York Gala celebrating the accomplishments of LGBTQ Students at The Plaza Hotel on April 9 in New York City. Lemon and Trump clashed over the CNN anchor's interview with basketball star LeBron James. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

"I would just like to note that referring to African Americans as dumb—remember, this is America—referring to African Americans as dumb is one of the oldest racist canards of America's past and present; that black people are of inferior intelligence," Lemon said.

He added: "This president constantly denigrates people of color, and women too."

Lemon drew attention to Trump's criticism of black Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who is campaigning for the president's impeachment. Trump repeatedly called Waters a "very low IQ individual."

The CNN anchor also highlighted Trump's fueling of a racist conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, not America, by demanding to see the former president's birth certificate.

And Lemon looked back at Trump's comments after the 2017 Charlottesville rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, a group he said contained "very fine people."

"Let me not mince words here: This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying," Lemon said. "From keeping children at the border in cages to bullying journalists at every one of his rallies and every chance he gets.

"President Trump is trying a divide and conquer strategy here and here's how it goes. He divides by race and tries to conquer decency by smearing and besmirching the truth and the people who fight to uphold it."

Lemon continued: "What about those who don't have a voice? What is this presidency doing to them?

"The kids separated from their parents at the border. The kids who don't have a chance to attend LeBron's school or any halfway decent school. The parents who can't honestly tell their children to be proud of a president of the United States. The people of color who are attacked by their fellow citizens who feel emboldened to be publicly racist because the president is.

"Will the country stand up for them? We the decent and truly patriotic people who really love America and believe in its greatness have to. Because, clearly, Donald Trump won't."

Trump's own wife Melania issued a comment on Saturday in support of James.

"It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today," Melania's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to CNN.