Trump supporter threatens to shoot CNN reporters Don Lemon and Brian Stelter

Don Lemon, Brian Stelter | Getty Images


On Friday, a Trump supporter emboldened by the President’s attacks on the media called in to C-SPAN and threatened to shoot CNN reporters Brian Stelter and Don Lemonthe Huffington Post reports.

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President Donald Trump has called the media the enemy of the people and regularly refers to CNN as “fake news.” The caller, who referred to himself as “Don from State College, Pennsylvania,” spoke with C-SPAN host Greta Brawner and continued Trump’s rhetoric against the media.

“It all started when Trump got elected. [Stelter and Lemon] don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here and they’re calling us racist because we voted for Trump,” he said, falsely accusing the men.

“They started the war. If I see ’em, I’m going to shoot ’em. Bye,” he said before hanging up.

On Sunday, Stelter took to the air to discuss the threat and reiterated that he nor Lemon has ever referred to Trump supporters as  “racist.”
“Obviously, researchers have proven that ― yes ― racial anxiety and resentment was a factor. But that’s not the same as calling all Trump supporters racist,” Stelter saidon Sunday.

“I don’t know if the C-SPAN caller watched Hannity. I’m not blaming Hannity. I just thought the timing was odd,” he said referring to Fox News’ Sean Hannity who aired a clip of Stelter asking whether racial anxiety was behind Trump’s rise.

C-SPAN’s Response

Howard Mortman, the network’s communications director, told HuffPost in an email Sunday that Brawner didn’t address the caller’s threat on-air because she didn’t hear it.

“If she had, she would have said something on air,” Mortman said before directing HuffPost to C-SPAN’s general policy on call-ins. 

“When a caller makes ad hominem attacks or uses indecent language or obviously racist language, program hosts are certainly permitted to step in,” according to C-SPAN’s website.

“Given that this involves quick judgment during a live television production, it’s an imperfect process.”

“I’m not asking for sympathy,” Stelter said Sunday. “I don’t think I’m in extreme danger. I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff.”

“But these kinds of threats are coming in more often,” he warned.

The caller’s threat is even more unsettling because the media is under attack more than before. The New York Times has had to ramp up its security and has been in the President’s crosshairs and is often attacked by Trump.

Trump’s Attacks on Media and Public Figures

Trump has increasingly become hostile toward the media and celebrities on Twitter. Trump’s latest typical Twitter attack comes on the heels of an interview that was aired on CNN Monday night when LA Lakers’ LeBron James sat down with Don Lemon. James who earlier that day opened his foundation’s new I Promise School in his native Akron, Ohio, USA Today reports discussed an array of topics, including Trump’s presidency.

Trump responded to the interview by saying that Lemon was the “dumbest man on television” and he liked basketball legend Michael Jordan better than James.

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And in June, more than 160 people were trapped inside the Gazette building as gunshots erupted and terror and anguish consumed people as they cried out for help and tried desperately to escape as a gunman took aim. Journalist crawled helplessly under their desks, trying to shield themselves.

And White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders refused to say the media is not an enemy of the people when pressed on about the question by CNN’s Jim Acosta after a crowd booed and took aim at him while he reported at a Trump rally.