Don Lemon: Mount Rushmore Is "Stolen Land," Obama "Should Be Front And Center" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Don Lemon: Mount Rushmore Is "Stolen Land," Obama "Should Be Front And Center"

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CNN host Don Lemon said "considering the history of this country" the first black president should be "front and center" on Mount Rushmore. Moments later, Lemon called Mount Rushmore "stolen land."


LEMON: Yes, and they said not in our town. Not -- this will not happen in my town, they said. And you know, I play this last night and the thing that got me, Chris, is they were painting over black lives matter letters --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: With black paint.

LEMON: -- with ink black which you would still be able to see because they were painting over the black letters, so they were actually in a weird way helping with the art there, black lives matter with black paint.

But listen, there are cameras now. People can't get away with these things. They had to know that they were going to get caught or maybe they didn't think the guys wearing a make America great again that he is screaming those sorts of things about, I think it's like make America great again or something of that nature.

And this is where we are in the country right now. People think that they can get away and do this stuff and that it is similar to the conversation that you were having with Angela, I guess, it's related. Our country. Not your country. This is my country, my town, my city. And there are certain people who don't belong or at least what you think that is right. You want to fight for criminal justice. You want black lives matter. You want to be able to have a sign that you put on the street. You can't do that because it's my town.

CUOMO: And look, genius doesn't have morality attached to it. Often it doesn't. And it all fits together. The lies about the pandemic. The lies about, you know, what this president will make happen, the lies of those around him as an echo of support. The lies about what black lives matter is about. It's all about creating division.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And making, you know, in a country that is well over 70 percent white, if this happens, it is bad for you. They literally say it on state TV. It's coming for you next.

LEMON: Yes. You see the right wing machine kick in. Media machine kick in when you see Trump's poll numbers go south. They kick in with --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: No position on the confederate flag.

LEMON: Yes. Democratic cities are in chaos right now. Is this what you want from Joe Biden. And they are going to take your country away. And they are taking down the statues.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Crime is rising.

LEMON: Crime is rising.

CUOMO: Defund police.

LEMON: My gosh. It's so bad. And they get defunding police, it's like -- and the people who you saw there for the most part -- not Dems specifically, I'm talking about as a whole. Fall for it. They fall for it. That's why they do things like what they did. They want to paint over signs and I think it's our country.

This is the country that we built. Even though a rich diversity of people helped to build this country and many of us, meaning our ancestors, for free. Did not get paid for it. Could not get an education. Could not build wealth. Are not on statues. Confederate or otherwise. Not on Mount Rushmore.

I think, listen, this is going to -- people are going to get and pick this up -- they're going to put someone on Mount Rushmore considering the history of this country. The first black president should be front and center.

CUOMO: Add to Mount Rushmore. Look, I think that's first of all, I think it's a more salable idea than the idea of taking away founding fathers. You know, and again, all of this is fodder for debate and discussion. You have to have the talk. You just can't hate people for having ideas you don't like. You know, that's the only mistake we can make.

And you know, a lot of this, I was talking with my kids about this, and we were talking about slavery, you know, I was saying we did this, we did that. We did this. And I was saying listen, you know, as you're getting context, Cuomos have only been here a couple generations but we have to understand we own the history of this place.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Because now you are charged with what do you do here? What are you about? How do you collaborate in the creation here? Whether it's the pandemic or whether it's the virus of racism. What we do have to do in this country is everybody -- you're doing it beautifully and brilliantly yourself. Of course, I'm bias and I love you.

But you're using your platform you've made a choice. You may not be winning yourself a lot of fans but you're going to say what you think is true from your experience hard minted from many years in this business and in this country.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Everybody has to make a choice about what they're going to do right now. There's a famous song from Rush, even if you choose not to decide you've still made a choice. And that's where this president is with the confederacy.

LEMON: All right. Preach there, Cuomo. Listen, I have to say it's -- you know, many times I do this because I'm not just speaking for myself but I'm speaking for other people. And I think it's important to give people as I've said before we have to cut people a break in this time. People are vulnerable. You know, we got the coronavirus. We're sitting at home.

Some people don't know where their next meal is coming from. They had a tough time with their jobs and on and on. But you can't let people off the hook. So, it's tough for many people's ears to hear. So, you say, well, we have to add, we can't change. We can't take it down. When Native Americans would say well, that didn't happen when it came to us.

CUOMO: True.

LEMON: And so, what's wrong, what's wrong with all of us together thinking or reshaping our country so that more people rethinking our country in the way we think and where our priorities are so that this country is belongs to everyone. It's not just -- (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Nothing is wrong with it.

LEMON: It's not just my country.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Maybe some of the people -- maybe some of the people, I'm not saying that they should, but maybe some of the people up there on Mount Rushmore, who knows? It wasn't Mount Rushmore, if you, you know, the name shouldn't be Mount Rushmore if you talk to Native Americans.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: They say it is stolen land. It was only Mount Rushmore 40 years before they started to carve president's faces in it. And no one got any money for that. And the person who was behind that was one of the founding fathers.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Or was a president.

CUOMO: He was a president.

LEMON: He was a president.
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