Don Lemon cited a line from the movie “Network” on Monday night, saying Americans are “mad as hell” at President Donald Trump over the administration’s botched response to the coronavirus pandemic. And he wondered just how much more the people are willing to take.
The CNN host played a series of clips showing Trump’s attacks on reporters, including a moment on Monday in which he slammed ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl as “a third-rate reporter.” Trump was angry that Karl had asked about a report from the HHS inspector general’s office detailing shortages of essential supplies and testing equipment for COVID-19.
“You will never make it,” Trump said to Karl.
“That is your president. Did you ever think you’d hear a president of the United States react that way? Ever?” Lemon asked. “I know some of you think it’s cute. It’s not. It’s sad.”
Lemon played more clips of Trump’s attacks, deflections and refusal to answer “perfectly legitimate” questions, then broke out the “Network” comparison. In the 1976 film, actor Peter Finch portrayed fictional TV news anchor Howard Beale, the “mad prophet of the airwaves” who urged Americans to open their windows and shout: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Lemon said he was having a Beale moment of his own.
“For the last couple of weeks, when I have walked into this building and I get in front of this camera, I swear I feel like I’m in the movie ‘Network,’” Lemon said. “I feel like Howard Beale.”
Lemon said it’s not just him. America has reached that point with Trump.
“Americans are mad as hell,” he said. “How much more can Americans take?”
Lemon then went through a timeline of the past month, with administration officials, such as Kellyanne Conway, claiming on March 6 that the virus was contained.
“It’s not being contained. Wasn’t then, it isn’t now,” Lemon said, noting that there were fewer than 20 deaths when Conway made that assertion. As of April 6, more than 10,000 Americans have died.
“That is a fact, a terrible fact ― not an alternative fact,” Lemon said. “Americans, are you mad as hell? How much more are you going to take?”
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