Don Lemon’s Apology Over Nikki Haley Comment Misses Mark Amid Warning From CNN CEO


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

CNN morning co-host Don Lemon offered an apology of sorts after he insultingly claimed that 2024 GOP presidential contender Nikky Haley was “past her prime,” age-wise, during a show segment this week.

According to a transcript of a company call, Lemon’s remark caused so much consternation among fellow network staff members he even earned a rebuke from CEO Chris Licht.

The morning show panel, which consists of Kaitlan Collins, who Lemon reportedly feuded with last week, and Poppy Harlow, was talking about the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor making age an issue during the 2024 campaign, likely a swipe at the ages of both President Joe Biden — who, at 80, struggles at times to communicate — and former President Donald Trump, who is 76.

Lemon said that Haley should not focus on people being in their “prime” because she is not in her “prime” as a woman in her 50s (she is 51).

“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 suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry, When a woman is in their prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” he said before Harlow interrupted.


“What are you talking — Wait…,” she said.

“That’s not according to me,” Lemon responded.

“Prime for what?” Harlow said.

“It depends. It’s just like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20s, 30s, 40s,” Lemon said.

“Forties! Oh my God, I have another decade,” Harlow said.

“I’m not saying I agree with that. So I think she has to be careful about saying that, you know, politicians are in their prime,” lemon said, stumbling as he backtracked.

“Are you talking about prime for, like, childbearing? Or are you talking about prime for being president?” Harlow pressed.

“Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s. I’m just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politics are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is,” Lemon said.

Lemon did not do the show on Friday but did take to Twitter to offer up a mea culpa of sorts after Thursday’s broadcast.

“The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day,” he noted.

Following the exchange on-air, the New York Post reported that a “furious” Harlow walked off the set, per the New York Post.

According to a source, Collins, who had previously clashed with Lemon, followed her colleague into the restroom during a “well-timed” bathroom break.

The insider suggested that the tense relationship between Lemon, Collins, and Harlow had been simmering for several months, as have previous sources. Additionally, a CNN insider claimed that the recent high-profile incident may prompt network boss Licht to replace Lemon as the co-host of the morning show.

“Chris isn’t happy and he has spoken to Don a couple times today,” the network source told The Post. “Don knows it can’t happen again.”

The Post added:

During an informal meeting Thursday, dubbed “Coffee with Chris,” 30 staffers peppered Licht with questions about the ratings-challenged network. One asked about Lemon’s comments about the 51-year-old Haley, according to a source with knowledge.

“People say stupid things and that if it’s a trend, then there’s recourse,” the source told The Post, summarizing Licht’s comments.

The newest iteration of CNN’s morning show is the lowest-rated in the network’s history, Outkick reported.


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