Why is it that liberals are apparently the only ones able to pick up on “dog whistles?”
Don Lemon took issue with President Trump’s pledge to fight the “assault” on Christmas by “saying Merry Christmas again.”
The “CNN Tonight” host accused the president’s remarks on Christmas of being laden with covert racist appeals to his base.
Lemon questioned the basis behind President Trump’s “war on Christmas rhetoric,” noting that Barack and Michelle Obama often used the phrase “Merry Christmas” themselves.
“So let’s remember President Trump isn’t the only president who says merry Christmas, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama said it many, many times,” Lemon said.
After playing clips of the former president wishing Americans a “Merry Christmas,” Lemon and his guests asserted that President Trump’s emphasis on Christmas is a “dog whistle” meant to energize his supporters.
“This is a line that we have heard from Donald Trump many, many — so why does he continue?” Lemon asked. “This is a dog whistle to the base because no one ever stopped saying Merry Christmas.”
Activist Margaret Hoover called President Trump’s Christmas comments “disingenuous.”
“Yeah except for that if you turn on some of our competitive cable networks they have entire hours and programming on about the war on Christmas. And it is intended directly to go to that cultural base that feels other people are taking their America away from them.
“That’s the dog whistle of make America great again. Great from what? The people who are taking your Christmas away from you, your teddy bears away from you, whatever it is. Right, we’re going to make it great, we’re going to bring Christmas back.
“And that’s, you know, it’s disingenuous. It’s not true. But there is a kernel of truth, but you have to understand, there is kernel of truth to the cultural resentment.”
Panelist John Avlon accused the president of using the “politics of resentment.”
“The politics of cultural resentment is all about narrative, right?” Avlon argued. “And when confronted with facts it falls apart. Because things feel emotionally true whether literally true. But it’s a bad basis for policy and a lousy basis for trying to unite the nation.”
The panelists closed their discussion with Avlon wishing Lemon a “Merry Christmas,” and the CNN host responding with “happy holidays to you.”
President Trump has previously criticized Don Lemon, calling him a “lightweight” and “the dumbest man on television.”
With his accusations of racist “dog whistles” that only he can hear, Lemon risks proving the president right.