Don Lemon’s response to Vivek Ramaswamy was right, says Ro Khanna 

Second Amendment

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said he was “profoundly embarrassed” to see Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy lecture then-CNN host Don Lemon over Black history during a recent and heated segment on the cable news network. 

During an April 19 exchange on “CNN This Morning,” Ramaswamy, 37, argued that Black Americans had received equal rights after the Civil War and with the help of the National Rifle Association.

Khanna said he was “profoundly embarrassed by Vivek lecturing a Black man about Black history.”

“The truth is that the Black civil rights movement paved the way for the 1965 immigration act so that Vivek’s family or mine could come to America,” Khanna tweeted on Tuesday. “We owe a huge debt.”

Ramaswamy’s parents are immigrants from India. The GOP candidate was born in Cincinnati. Khanna’s parents also are immigrants from India. He was born in Philadelphia.

During the heated segment, Ramaswamy exchanged words with Lemon and co-host Poppy Harlow.

“Black people secured their freedoms after the Civil War; it is a historical fact, Don, just study it, only after their Second Amendment rights were secured,” Ramaswamy said.

“You are discounting a whole host of things that happened after the Civil War when it comes to African Americans, including the whole reason that the Civil Rights Movement happened is because Black people did not secure their freedoms after the Civil War,” Lemon responded.

Ramaswamy said the work of the NRA played a “big role” in securing those freedoms, which Lemon said was “a lie.”

The GOP hopeful is not the first to claim the NRA played a role in securing freedoms for Black Americans.

In 2021, a social media post falsely claimed that “the NRA was formed to help Black people defend themselves against the Democrats’ Ku Klux Klan.” But according to the Associated Press, the NRA was not formed to help Black people defend themselves against the KKK but to improve marksmanship among members of the New York National Guard after the Civil War.

Tensions between the host and Ramaswamy increased when Ramaswamy said it was “insulting” that Lemon was arguing Black Americans did not have these rights.

“The fact that … you are sitting here telling an African American about the rights and what you find insulting … the way I live, the skin I live in every day, and I know the freedoms that Black people don’t have in this country and that Black people do have,” Lemon said. 

The interaction has spread across social media following news that Lemon was ousted from CNN on Monday. A New York Times article alleged this interaction “left several CNN leaders exasperated” and became one of many reasons the long-time anchor was let go. 

CNN has not detailed why Lemon was let go from the company, but company president Chris Licht said in a statement on Monday that Lemon will “forever be a part of the CNN family.”

“We thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” Licht said. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”

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