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Don Lemon shuts down Trump supporter: Saying birtherism isn’t about race is ‘tone deaf’

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CNN host Don Lemon scolded a Donald Trump supporter on Thursday for insisting that Donald Trump’s birther remarks about President Barack Obama were not racist and that “only liberals on television” felt like that was the case.

“Here’s the thing I said about the campaign being tone-deaf,” Lemon told Andy Dean, before urging him to look at his monitor and consider that both he and panelist Van Jones were African-American.

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And to a lot of African-Americans they interact with, he explained, Trump’s allegations that Obama was not born in the US “is an issue that they have a problem with, that they see racist, that they see as delegitimizing the first African-American president when your candidate is trying to reach out to African-Americans. We as African-Americans are telling you this is an issue that we see as racial and you’re saying ‘no it’s not.’ That is being tone-deaf. Don’t you understand that?”

“Throughout American history, there’s been questions as to peoples’ birthplaces,” Dean responded. “It has nothing to do with his skin color, as evidenced by the fact that five other individuals have gone through this.”

“You didn’t hear anything I said,” a perturbed Lemon replied. “You didn’t hear anything I said. You may not think it’s a race issue. I’m telling you how African-Americans feel about it and you’re denying how African-Americans feel about it.”

Earlier in the evening, Trump’s campaign released a statement — attributed to a spokesperson — saying that the former reality show host believed that Obama was born in the US, hours after he told the Washington Post that he would address the issue at another time. For his part, Jones described the statement as an attempt to save face

“He kind of stepped in the doggie poo with the Washington Post,” said Jones. “Hillary Clinton smacked him for it. He had somebody push out a statement for him, try to stop a little bit of the bleeding. At some point he’s going to have to stand up in front of the American people like you want anyone else to do with his own mouth and say that he was wrong. And it would be great for him to apologize.”

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Jones also said that Trump’s campaign to get Obama to release his birth certificate felt to Black Americans “like it was a cheap shot at somebody who had a different skin color.”

“Apologize, show you’ve got some empathy, you might go somewhere with this,” he urged Trump. But Dean rejected the idea.

“I think he’s factually incorrect,” he said of Jones. “I think maybe liberals on television may think it’s a race issue.”

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Watch the discussion, as aired on Thursday, below.

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Elections 2016

California bill to establish nation’s second public bank applauded as ‘historic challenge to Wall Street domination’

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"If California is serious about addressing racial and income inequities, we must create a banking system that centers people not profits."

In a move advocacy groups celebrated as a "historic challenge to Wall Street domination of municipal finances," a pair of California state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation that would establish the nation's second publicly-owned bank and empower the institution to lend to businesses and local governments fighting to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19

What is China doing to stop Beijing’s new coronavirus outbreak?

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Over 1,000 flights have been cancelled, schools shut and residents urged not to leave Beijing, as Chinese authorities race to contain a fresh outbreak linked to the capital's largest wholesale food market.

The number of confirmed cases in the capital has shot up to 137 within the last week after two months of no cases, and four other provinces have revealed cases linked to the Beijing cluster.

How did the outbreak begin, and what measures are Beijing taking to contain it?

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Beijing had turned into a virtual fortress at the height of the pandemic, with people arriving from other regions or countries required to undergo quarantines.

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2020 Election

Democrats and Never-Trumpers gaming out ‘doomsday scenarios’ if president refuses to leave office: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, Democratic strategists and Never-Trumper conservatives fear Donald Trump will refuse to leave office should he lose in November and are making plans and figuring out their legal options should such an unprecedented state of affairs come to pass.

The report, by the Times' Reid Epstein, begins with one such possible scenario.

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