Don Lemon Blows Up at Trump's Allies Praising Martin Luther King Jr.

CNN's Don Lemon has criticized Republicans who quoted and praised Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday celebrating his birth after showing support for a president who used "race to pit Americans against each other."

In a monologue on Monday night, Lemon called out a number of GOP and conservative figures including Vice President Mike Pence, the president's daughter Ivanka Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz for paying tribute to the Black civil rights icon after failing to denounce Donald Trump for spreading falsehoods about the election and inciting the extremist attack on the Capitol on January 6.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Pence tweeted how King called on the nation to "live up to the highest ideals of our founding" while saying his accomplishments will "inspire us for generations to come."

Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted how America needs to pursue King's dream for a better country "in these troubled times," while Cruz described how King calling for Americans to have the "courage to face the uncertainties of the future" is needed "now more than ever."

Now more than ever, we are reminded of the power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, calling on all of us to have ‘the courage to face the uncertainties of the future,’ ‘as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.’

— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 18, 2021

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a giant of the Civil Rights Movement who called on our Nation to live up to the highest ideals of our founding. We pay tribute to the incredible life & accomplishments of Dr. King & his memory will inspire us for generations to come.

— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 18, 2021

Lemon noted that the GOP figures' tweets on Martin Luther King Day arrive two days before Kamala Harris is set to make history as the first Black and South Asian woman to become the Vice President.

"The Biden-Harris administration was elected to represent all Americans with more than 81 million people voting for them," Lemon said. "But it was voters of color who put them over the finish line, even as the current president until Wednesday at noon, anyway, deliberately tried to divide us."

Today, we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits." -MLK, Jr. #MLKDay

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 18, 2021

Today we honor one of our nation’s
great heroes. Dr. King called on America to truly fulfill our founding principles and provide justice and opportunity for all. His work and his example have brought us a long way and they inspire us to keep working.

— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 18, 2021

Lemon goes on to condemn the Republicans who stood by "every racist attack" from Trump, even as he tried to disenfranchise "millions of Americans, many of them voters of color" with his unsubstantiated cries of widespread election fraud.

"Those republicans like Mike Pence, putting out 50 tweets quoting Dr. King's words, can you believe it? Like Mitch McConnell, who supported the president whose actions go against everything Dr. King stood for. Like Lindsey Graham, who allegedly called Georgia election officials to get them to throw out legal votes, including large numbers from black voters.

"Ted Cruz, who even after the riot on Capitol Hill, still voted against certifying the electoral college vote. Ivanka Trump, who called the rioters American patriots, and then deleted the tweet.

"One Republican after another, apparently hoping that you'll forget their support for a president who used race to pit Americans against each other."

Lemon then shares a quote from King in which he discussed his "frustration about the white people who just didn't get it" and stood in the way of progress in a letter he wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

"Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will," the quote which also appears on screen states. "Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Lemon then refers to Trump as an "extremist" who created an environment which resulted in white supremacists and conspiracy theorists storming the Capitol.

"He used race to divide us from the very beginning from the racist birther lie that the former President Barack Obama was not born in this country, to 'both sides' in Charlottesville, to dancing around the question of whether he disavowed the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan," Lemon said.

Don Lemon
Don Lemon attends the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction In NYC on December 12, 2019 in New York City. Lemon called out Republicans for praising Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after standing by Donald Trump. Mike Pont/Getty