Video: CNN's Don Lemon Calls Trump 'Race-baiter-in-chief' for Baltimore Remarks, Slams 'Deliberate' Strategy of Attacking People of Color

CNN host Don Lemon launched a blistering attack on President Donald Trump Monday, accusing him of consistently and intentionally denigrating people of color for political gain.

Lemon lamented the president's recent comments about Baltimore and attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings, which have provoked fury among Trump's opponents. Noting the president's past racially insensitive comments, Lemon branded him the "Race baiter-in-chief."

Cummings, a Baltimore representative and chair of the House Oversight Committee, has long been a critic of the president. His committee is spearheading multiple investigations into Trump and his inner circle.

But it was Cumming's questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over border conditions on during a July 18 congressional hearing that prompted a flurry of tweets from the president, criticizing Cummings' work and disparaging Baltimore.

Lemon: 'The President is the race-baiter in chief'

"If you call some of our American communities disgusting, filthy, rat infested, you insult all of us."Don Lemon CNN reports on a series of tweets, in which President Trump accused Rep. Elijah Cummings of being a 'racist' while denigrating his Baltimore district.

Posted by Don Lemon CNN on Monday, July 29, 2019

Trump's opponents said his attacks on Cummings and Baltimore contained racist tropes and were designed to dehumanize and humiliate the city and people of color elsewhere, playing to racist sentiments within his base.

Lemon said Trump's comments "insult all of us" and undermine the "E Pluribus Unum" motto on the presidential seal, which translates to "out of many, one."

"We have to talk about what the president of the United States has been doing," Lemon said. "We've got to talk about his deliberate and intentional strategy of attacking people of color...I wish I could say I'm shocked or surprised. But I'm not. And you probably aren't either. It has happened too many times."

Trump described Baltimore as "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and suggested that "no human being would want to live there." Turning to Cummings, the president wrote: "If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

Lemon said the use of the word "infested" was particularly loaded, and concerning. The president has previously used it in attacks on the four-woman group of representatives of color known as "The Squad," criticism of "crime infested" sanctuary cities, and claims that the MS-13 street gang is "infesting" the country.

True to form, Trump dismissed calls to apologize and even doubled down by accusing Cummings of racism.

But such conduct is not surprising from "the man who launched his political career by pushing the racist Birther attack on President Barack Obama," Lemon said. The host framed such attacks as calculated to "stir up his base and to distract you from what he doesn't want you to pay attention to."

"Imagine if that was your family that the president is insulting," Lemon continued. "Well Cummings doesn't have to imagine. You know why? Because he is the son of former sharecroppers. He was born and raised in Baltimore. But the president insults him and degrades an entire community."

Lemon also pointed out the irony of Trump's Baltimore attacks given that face that the family of his son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner are partially responsible.

The Kushners own thousands of apartments in the city, some of which have a long history of code violations such as rodent infestation and other health hazards. Despite repeated warnings fines, the family has failed to address all violations.

Donald Trump, Don Lemon, racism, baltimore
President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 29, 2019. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty