Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) called CNN’s Don Lemon “hostile to America” after the news anchor recently quizzed singer Gladys Knight about why she had agreed to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
And the “CNN Tonight” host wasn’t having any of it.
Lemon fired back Friday at Gingrich’s claim that it fit “the CNN pattern of belittling America and its institutions” with two tweets:
Lemon explained how he was “breaking my rule of not responding to Twitter trolls” just for Gingrich and that Knight had been “well aware of the anthem controversy & chose to speak with me about it.”
“Not asking her about it would have been a dereliction of journalistic integrity,” he added. “We can respect someone, ask tough questions & hold them to account. It’s the American way. Republicans, lately, should try it.”
Lemon concluded with this zinger: “By the way, don’t play me, play lotto. Your odds are better.”
Multiple musicians and singers reportedly turned down invites to perform the half-time show at last Sunday’s Super Bowl in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former 49er who was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem before games in protest of police brutality and systemic racism.
Knight, however, told Variety before the game that she wanted “to give the anthem back its voice” and “to stand for that historic choice of words.”