Ramaswamy Schools CNN Host Don Lemon on How Ignorant He Is on Civil Rights

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy appears on CNN with Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow, April 19, 2023. Credit: Screenshot

Republican presidential candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has been turning heads with his outspoken statements on what it means to be an American and the current state of the country since he jumped into the primary race in late February. One of the proposed planks of his platform is completely tearing down several federal agencies, including the Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Most recently, my colleague Mike Miller wrote on Ramaswamy’s release of his bold, 25-point plan for America.


On Wednesday morning, he took his fledgling campaign into the lion’s den, sitting down for an interview with CNN hosts Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow. Unsurprisingly, at several points in the conversation, Lemon managed to beclown himself more than once.

For example, they broached the topic of the Civil War. Lemon took issue with Ramaswamy’s using the example of the first anti-gun laws coming after the end of Civil War, as he explains in a new video (see end of article), “to keep Black people from owning guns.” CNN then plays the clip from his recent speech at the NRA conference.

In the segment, Lemon states Ramaswamy is wrong to use the Civil War “to talk about Black Americans” and our rights as Americans.

The candidate interjects, “That war was fought for Black people to have freedoms in this country.”

Thinking he’s trapped Ramaswamy in a mistatement of fact, Lemon Interrupts his point, and said with a haughty laugh, “So, it wasn’t fought for Black people to have guns.”

But Ramaswamy is ready with the actual history. “Actually, you know, a funny fact is: Black people did not get to enjoy the other freedoms until their Second Amendment rights were secured. And I think that that’s one of the lessons that we learned.”


But Don Lemon didn’t want to hear it. He trips up again here, by sharing that he thinks the color of one’s skin determines which issues a fellow American is allowed to talk about.

You see, Lemon suffers under a mistaken notion on who can talk about civil rights in this country–the same sort of argument pro-abortion activists try to make about only women having the right to discuss abortions.

In same exchange, Lemon makes the remarkable assertion that “black people still aren’t allowed to enjoy their freedoms,” something so dishonest on its face that Ramaswamy was not about to let it stand.

In a post on Twitter, he describes Lemon’s comments about the “dialogue about race” in modern America as “preposterous.” He continues:

That’s an insult to the progress we’ve made over the last 160 years. His comments embody what’s wrong with the dialogue about race in America. I told him so without apology.

Immediately after the interview ended, the candidate took to social media, and shared a video in which he hit all of the low-lights of the encounter, starting with Lemon’s ignorance about “civil rights history”–and his incivility while espousing it during the interview, including toward co-host Harlow:


Ramaswamy said:

The remarkable thing is: this guy, without knowing an iota of history about what actually led Black Americans to get freedoms, is now lecturing about the fact that, if somebody is not Black, they can’t talk about that history.

[He’s] claiming that Black people haven’t had their civil rights secured even today–even as he sits on air, dominating the conversation from his co-anchor in a way that was actually pretty uncomfortable, to be there on set.

He expanded on that last point, saying that “frankly, his attitude toward, apparently, allowing his fellow female co-anchor to speak was a little bit different from what mine would be.” But what he said in closing was a crucial message to conservatives:

We need, as conservatives, to go to the other side, debate them on their own turf, and actually deliver facts and win.

This is one of the most important lessons to take from this interview–and Ramaswamy proved it by doing it. Readers have likely read many pieces at RedState, complaining about Republicans and conservatives wading into interviews with legacy media outlets, which are little more than traps to give the Left ammunition against others on our side. But if you do what Ramaswamy did here, come well armed with facts, there’s no reason Republicans can’t fight back and win in hostile territory on issues like the Second Amendment, race, and others.




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