A conversation became heated between 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy and Don Lemon on CNN This Morning on Wednesday, causing the segment to end abruptly after the two sparred over the Civil War and its connection to the Second Amendment rights of black people.
“I think it’s insulting that you are sitting here whatever ethnicity you are ‘splaining to me about what it’s like to be black in America,” Lemon told the 2024 candidate after the contentious back and forth.
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“I’ll tell you what I am: I’m an Indian American. I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate. Black, white — doesn’t matter. On the content of the ideas,” said Ramaswamy.
Discussing his recent speech at the National Rifle Association convention, Ramaswamy said, “We fought a civil war in this country to give black Americans the equal protection under the law that we failed to secure them in 1776. But then, you want to know what happened? Southern states passed anti-gun laws that stopped black people from owning guns; the Democrat Party, then as in now, wanted to put them back in chains.”
“Then, as in now, that’s quite an accusation about the current Democratic Party. Who and what were you referring to?” asked Poppy Harlow.
He told Harlow that he was referencing President Joe Biden’s 2012 remark to a black audience that soon-to-be Republican nominee Mitt Romney would “put you all back in chains.”
According to Ramaswamy, the sentiment dates “back to Lyndon Johnson. I think Lyndon Johnson’s so-called Great Society was one of the greatest misnomers in American political history where even back then, in the 1960s, 70% plus of black kids were born into two-parent homes. Today that number is less than 30% in the opposite direction.”
“The very policies that we implemented in this country in the name of helping black Americans have actually been disastrous for black Americans and all Americans, and I think that that’s something that we need to wake up to,” he added.
Lemon told the 2024 candidate that “I don’t see what one has to do with the other,” referring to the Civil War and gun rights.
He further criticized his guest for “using the Civil War to talk about black Americans. That war was not fought for black people to have guns.”
Ramaswamy retorted that “black people did not get to enjoy the other freedoms until their Second Amendment rights were secured. ”
“Black people still aren’t allowed to enjoy the freedoms,” Lemon claimed.
Lemon brushed off Ramaswamy’s disagreement, telling him, “When you are in black skin and you live in this country, then you can disagree with me.”
Ramaswamy attempted to tell Lemon that they should be able to discuss these topics regardless of skin color, but the host would not have any of it.
“I think it’s insulting to black people. It’s insulting to me as an African American. I don’t want to sit here and argue with you because it’s infuriating for you to put that — to put those things together. It’s not right. You’re telling of history is wrong,” he claimed.
“The Civil War was fought for black people in this country to get freedoms, a noble mission,” Ramaswamy said.
Lemon took issue once again, accusing Ramaswamy of reducing the Civil War’s purpose.
“I think that’s reductive and it’s insulting,” he said of the presidential candidate invoking the Civil War at the NRA convention.
Ramaswamy pushed forward, telling Lemon, “They got their Second Amendment rights, and they actually got — the NRA played a big role in that.”
“The NRA did not play a big role in that. That is a lie,” Lemon cut him off.
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“Actually they trained black Americans to use firearms,” Ramaswamy claimed.
He is currently polling in fifth in a hypothetical 2024 Republican primary conducted by Morning Consult, with 3%. Former President Donald Trump enjoys a large lead, garnering 53%.