April 16, 2024

Don Lemon expresses ‘regret’ for sexist ‘prime’ remarks about Nikki Haley, doesn’t mention her name

CNN host Don Lemon said Thursday that he regretted the “reference” he made to a woman’s “prime,” which he directed at GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, and said his comments were “inartful and irrelevant.”

“The reference I made to a woman’s “prime” this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day,” Lemon wrote on Twitter hours after making the comment. 

Lemon, who said Haley was not in her prime during “CNN This Morning” on Thursday, did not mention Haley in his tweet. He criticized her after Haley remarked during her campaign launch speech that politicians over 75 years old should have yearly mental competency tests.

“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are something and not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon said hours earlier. 

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CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Lemon what he meant by the comment. He awkwardly explained that he Googled “when a woman is in her prime” and the results said it that it’s in her 20s, 30s and 40s. Harlow said he should perhaps “qualify” his message, wondering if he was referring to prime child-bearing years.

Haley, who just announced her 2024 candidacy on Tuesday, is 51. 

The CNN host argued Haley should be careful “about saying that politicians are not in their prime.”

“I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is woman in her prime, it says 20s, 30s and 40s. And I’m just saying should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime and they need to be in prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to,” Lemon said, as Harlow finished his sentence and said, “Google.”

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Haley responded to Lemon on Thursday as well after he was criticized as being “sexist” for his comments. 

“Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job,” tweeted Haley.

“BTW it’s always the liberals who are the most sexist,” she continued. 

Lemon began hosting the CNN morning show in November alongside Harlow and co-host Kaitlan Collins. 

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