Donald Trump Is 'Rattled,' Says CNN's Don Lemon

President Donald Trump’s hostile and rambling post-midterm election press conference in the White House on Wednesday night showed just how “rattled” he is, according to CNN anchor Don Lemon, despite the president’s claims of a major victory.

Speaking on CNN Tonight, Lemon described the president’s performance as a “90-minute temper tantrum” and criticized his belligerence towards reporters, with whom he clashed several times while taking questions.

Speaking to the media after the Republican House majority was wiped out, Trump denied he had suffered a defeat. Focusing on Republican success in the Senate, the president claimed his leadership had delivered the best electoral result for the Republicans in recent history.

“Facts don’t seem to matter much to this president,” Lemon said. “What matters to him is winning, adoration. If he doesn't get both, he lashes out.”

The presser consisted of a rambling attack against Democrats, the media and even members of his own party that tried to distance themselves from his toxic rhetoric during the campaign.

Soon after the testy press conference ended, news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been fired—or, as Sessions himself wrote, had resigned at Trump’s request.

According to Lemon, the news was broken to Sessions by John Kelly, the White House chief of staff. “The man famous for saying, ‘You’re fired’ for pretend on television apparently couldn’t say it himself,” the CNN host said.

Sessions, the former senator for Alabama, was the first person in the Senate to support Trump’s insurgent campaign, back when the prospect of him winning the Oval Office still seemed highly unlikely.

Lemon noted that Sessions had asked to be allowed to stay in his role until the end of this week, but was told by Kelly he had to step down immediately. Staffers were said to have learned of his removal from news reports and Trump’s own tweet, in which the president thanked Sessions and wished him well.

Matt Whitaker—a long-time critic of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election—has become acting attorney general, though Trump said a permanent replacement would be nominated at a later date.

Lemon played a clip of Whitaker speaking on CNN in July, suggesting that a replacement attorney general could end the Mueller investigation, not by firing the special counsel but by reducing “his budget so low that his investigation grinds to, almost, a halt.”

Lemon explained that the “man who is now in charge of the Russia investigation offered a blueprint for cutting the legs out from under that investigation nearly a year and a half ago.”

In his press conference, Trump suggested he would not obstruct the Mueller probe, albeit with thinly-veiled threats against investigators. “I could fire everybody right now, but I don't want to stop it because politically I don't like stopping it,” Trump said. “I could say, ‘That investigation is over.’”

Lemon told viewers, “Sounds like a threat, doesn’t it?” The anchor added that the president’s comments were “like nothing we’ve seen before.”

Join the Discussion