Video: CNN's Don Lemon Says Donald Trump Was Right—'The American Dream Is Rigged'

CNN's Don Lemon has blasted elite parents allegedly involved in a college entrance scam as evidence of a rigged system that favors the wealthy.

President Donald Trump, who has frequently spoken of a "rigged system," used the rhetoric to his advantage—in spite of being a member of the elite himself, Lemon continued.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged more than 40 people—including actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman—in relation to an alleged multimillion-dollar college admissions cheating scheme.

The alleged crimes, he said, were a shocking example of unfairness in America. "For all those people who complain about affirmative action—who say it gives an unfair advantage to students of color and other minorities—this is the real scandal. Elite parents gaming the system," he said.

This kind of scandal, Lemon suggested, frustrated everyday Americans. "This is an America that can be deeply unfair, where hard work doesn't necessarily pay off… Where a whole lot of people have real good reason to believe the system is rigged against them. Listen, this is what Donald Trump tapped into. And in a lot of ways, guess what—he was right."

Lemon showed clips of Trump calling the system rigged at several public speaking events. "The system is rigged, remember that," Trump said in the days before the 2016 election. "We have a rigged system in this country and we have to change it," he told an audience in December 2017. "You remember what else I called rigged? I've called plenty of things in this country rigged," he told another crowd in October 2018.

Trump tapped into this frustration in spite of the fact he is himself a member of the elite, Lemon said. "Let's not forget The New York Times investigation that revealed at age three, Donald Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars," he said.

In October, the Times reported Trump had received the equivalent today of some $413 million from his father's real estate empire. A large portion of this money, the paper reported, was reaped from "dubious tax schemes."

"For far too many people, the American Dream is rigged, and [Trump] has spoken to that," Lemon said. "Maybe he's questionable as the messenger for this, but it's a message that a lot of people feel in their core. Rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful.

"A whole lot of people in this country—on the left and on the right, are angry about that. It's a lot bigger than this one story. Trust me—this is just the beginning."

Donald Trump, Don Lemon
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House, on March 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Al Drago/Getty Images