“We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them,” Lemon said to fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo during a segment Monday night.
“There is no travel ban on them,” Lemon continued. “There is no ban on ― you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white guy ban.”
Lemon was referring to three incidents of violence last week: Gregory Alan Bush is accused of killing two black people at a grocery store, Cesar Sayoc is charged with sending pipe bombs to several of the president’s challengers, and Robert Bowers is accused of walking into a Pittsburgh synagogue and fatally shot 11 people after screaming, “All Jews must die!”
Two of the three perpetrators are white; Sayoc reportedly looked up to white supremacists and said he wished “to go back to the Hitler days.”
“I keep trying to point out to people and not to demonize any one group or any one ethnicity,” Lemon said earlier in the clip. “But we keep thinking that the biggest terror threat is something else, some people who are marching, you know, towards the border, like it’s imminent.”
The segment didn’t get much attention until Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra tweeted the clip on Tuesday night. Many conservatives on Twitter were furious with Lemon’s comments, calling his remarks race baiting.
“I could hardly believe he actually said that, but the video shows he certainly did. Remarkable,” Fox News political analyst Brit Hume wrote on Twitter.
As of Wednesday morning, Saavedra’s tweet has been retweeted over 4,300 times.
Although many conservatives slammed Lemon for his comments, research supports his statement. According to a 2017 report from the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal, there were nearly twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists (the majority of whom are white) as by Islamic extremists in the U.S. from 2008 to 2018.
Watch a longer clip of the CNN segment below.
CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to include more specific language describing the violent incidents that occurred last week.