Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy appeared on CNN Monday night and debated Don Lemon over the network's bias against Trump. They also discussed the ongoing Russian collusion controversy and the latest story about a potential Trump building in Moscow which Ruddy called "total B.S." He said it actually proved Trump correct, as he never did any deals in Russia and it was not Trump who approached the Russians.
"I hate to pop your balloon... it's total B.S," he told Lemon. "Actually, I like this story. Because it proves that there was no collusion. Because some intermediary who approached the Trump Organization, not any one from Trump, said I'm going to reach out to the Putin people and get this building built in Moscow. No building was ever built. No deal was ever done. So when the president says, 'I never did any deal in Russia.' It's true. He's accurate. Somebody approached. So, everybody loves the Trump brand. It's a global brand. He does buildings all over the world. And somebody approached him and said, we would like to do a building in Moscow."
"What's the story here? Why is this a big story?" Ruddy asked.
Lemon said that Ruddy is not popping his balloon as he is a journalist seeking answers to a legitimate accusation against the president.
"You started by saying I hate to pop your bubble... just by asking a question about the fact when everybody in the Trump campaign said, and President Trump, 'I've had no contact with Russians,' even Michael Cohen... and then you find emails and there are emails of contact with Russians," Lemon said.
"Look, he does global business," Ruddy said. "When the founding fathers did the Constitution for this country, they assumed that business people would be running the country, not career government oligarchs that would come in and be there for 30, 40 years. Donald Trump is a business guy. And everybody is like, 'he's doing business here. There is nothing wrong with doing business. And he has been pretty open. A lot of this business stuff has been out there."
"He hasn't been pretty open because no one knows exactly who he has business with," Lemon said.
"Go to LexisNexis and do a search," Ruddy responded.
The two then argued over media coverage of collusion rather than positive stories.
LEMON: I'm asking questions and you're saying that I have some sort of plan where I am asserting collusion. I'm not.
RUDDY: But that has been the narrative [in the media].
LEMON: But the media is supposed to ask those questions. That's what we're supposed to do.
RUDDY: That's not questions. Look, it's constant bias. It's constant -- I'm --
LEMON: How is constant bias to ask a question?
RUDDY: Okay let's go back. Q2, this year, there has been 100% increase in GDP --
LEMON: I don't want to get off topic.
RUDDY: -- stock market's up. No, but you don't like to talk about it.
LEMON: The stock market has been up for months.
RUDDY: Stock market's up. Unemployment is at its lowest rate.
LEMON: Unemployment has been going down for months, even before this president.
Ruddy told Lemon the network doesn't do "fake news" as much as "selective news" on Trump and said they receive Trump's wrath because they never do good stories on him. Lemon said Trump hits CNN because "our viewers are more fair-minded."
"It's not fake news, it's selective news," Ruddy said. "You pick and choose, Don, the stories that you do about the president. So when the president doing something good, not wrong you don't want to talk about it."
"You want only positive stories about the president," Lemon reacted. "You identify as a conservative news organization and we don't."
"Go to Newsmax right now," Ruddy said. "You will find stories on both sides."
"You never do the good stories. You have to do both sides. This is the problem with CNN," he also said.
"I think the president is disappointed because he is expecting a higher standard from someone like you," Ruddy added.
Ruddy told Lemon he talked to Trump earlier that day and he had unkind words for Lemon. Lemon said Trump may say unkind words behind Lemon's back, but he will come on air and say it to the audience.
"Early this morning, I chatted with the president," Ruddy recalled. "He had a lot of things to say about you. I won't repeat any of them because I don't want to upset your night."
"Do you think that would upset my night, that the president said something? He said stuff about me publicly... the thing is the president will say to you and to people behind my back. I will say it in front of the camera," Lemon responded.
"He won't come on this network or he won't come on to do an interview with me," he said.
"Wasn't it just last week that you were saying that he was mentally something?" Ruddy asked.
"I said nothing about the president having a mental issue. I did not say that. Go back and look at the tape," Lemon responded.
"Look, I know you're upset with the election results," Ruddy said.
"I am not upset with the election results. That's your assumption," Lemon.
Lemon told Ruddy that Trump has attacked him more than other people on the network "who look different than me" and have been much more critical of the president.
"I have to ask you, let me ask you, I want you to ask the president this. There are lots of people on this network and others who don't look like me who are harder on this president and who say disparaging things about this president but he doesn't get as upset with them as he does with me. Why is that?" Lemon asked.
"I think he is upset with a lot of other media," Ruddy responded. "I think generally he believes CNN should be the gold standard."
"He's not running CNN, he's running the country," Lemon said. "Why is he concerned about CNN?"
When Lemon was told that there are stories that never make it on CNN, the anchor said then go on CNN.com to look for them.
LEMON: Do you ever watch CNN, do you ever read CNN.com?
RUDDY: I watch CNN all the time. Yes.
LEMON: OK. CNN is a lot bigger than just what you see on the air.
RUDDY: Yes, but you never report good stuff.
LEMON: There's CNN.com, there's CNN Espanol, there's CNN Turk, there's CNN Mexico, there's all kinds of CNN. You don't get to watch, there's CNN international. You don't know what we report on everything. And there are things that go to CNN.com. If you're interested, go on there and click on it.