Don Lemon’s controversial comments about presidential candidate Nikki Haley and when women are past their “prime” were noted by the White House as press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referenced the remark at Friday’s press briefing.
Jean-Pierre briefed the White House Press Corp. along with NSC coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby. After Kirby, 60, finished his brief, Jean-Pierre, 48, commented, “Neither of us have hit our prime yet.”
“Oh, we’re back to my age again,” he responded.
A reporter followed up later referencing Jean-Pierre’s earlier comment and asking, “Does the president have anything to say about this national conversation that was sparked after a claim that was seemingly made in defense of the president that Nikki Haley is not in her prime because women hit their prime in their 20s, 30s and 40s?”
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The press secretary demurred, “You know, I’m not going to comment directly to that. That is something clearly that needs to be addressed by [CNN].” She went on to tout the number of women and other “diverse voices” in the Biden administration.
“CNN This Morning” co-host Lemon caused outrage on Thursday when he reacted to former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley announcing her candidacy for president in 2024. Haley called for politicians over 75 to face “mental competency tests” at her announcement speech, which seemed to bother Lemon.
“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are something if not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon said.
Co-host Poppy Harlow questioned what he meant by “prime” and Lemon said that it wasn’t according to him.
“It depends, just like ‘prime,’ if you look it up. If you Google it, when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20s, 30s and 40s,” he continued. “I’m not saying I agree with that. I think she has to be careful about saying that, you know, politicians are in their prime.”
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“I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is woman in her prime, it says 20s, 30s and 40s. And I’m just saying should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime and they need to be in prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to,” Lemon said, as Harlow finished his sentence and said, “Google.”
Lemon’s comments drew immediate reaction online and anger internally at CNN. After posting an apology on Twitter, he apologized to his colleagues during the network’s Friday morning editorial call.
But his staff apology was blasted as “pathetic” by a well-placed CNN insider who called the morning show host a “f——g a–hole.”
“Most pathetic attempt at an apology I have ever heard in my life,” a CNN insider told Fox News Digital. “It did not go over well.”
Fox News’ Hanna Panreck contributed to this report.
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