CNN anchor Don Lemon is apologizing for comments he made Thursday morning suggesting that former U.N. ambassador and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is not “in her prime.”
The 56-year-old Lemon made his comments during a discussion with co-host Poppy Harlow about Haley’s suggestion that there should be “mandatory competency testing for politicians over 75.”
Lemon felt that Haley, 51, should be careful about making candidates’ ages a campaign issue.
“I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime?” Lemon said. “It says 20s, 30s and 40s. And I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is.”
And, yeah, there’s video.
For the record, the average age of a U.S. president at inauguration is 55 ― or possibly older, since that number comes from a 2011 article that predates the inauguration of Donald Trump at age 70 and the inauguration of Joe Biden at age 78.
Lemon’s comments were condemned by people all across the political spectrum, as noted by Mediaite.
Haley herself also criticized Lemon’s comments, being sure to turn it into a blanket condemnation of “liberals.”
“Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job,” she tweeted Thursday. ”BTW it’s always the liberals who are the most sexist.”
A few hours after the segment, Lemon wrote on Twitter that his comments about women’s ages were “inartful and irrelevant,” and said he regrets them.
“A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally,” he wrote. “I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.”
Haley didn’t seem too impressed with Lemon’s mea culpa, which many people on Twitter noted wasn’t actually a direct apology to the former South Carolina governor.
Of course, other people had reactions as well.
And NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar managed to give Lemon both some slack and some shade all in one tweet.
Meanwhile, as of Thursday afternoon, Haley hadn’t condemned the various race- and gender-based attacks on her that have come from fellow conservatives.
For instance, she hasn’t responded to recent comments from Ann Coulter that Haley, a South Carolina-born daughter of Indian immigrants, should “go back to [her] own country.”
Haley also hasn’t responded to the comment that Steve Cortes, a onetime Trump adviser, made Thursday to Steve Bannon that Haley reminds him of former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan with “a tan, and he put on a wig.”
HuffPost reached out to Haley to ask if she also plans to denounce the insults from the right about her race and gender, but she did not immediately respond.