Jeffrey Lord, a CNN contributor and supporter of President Donald Trump, has made bigoted and sexist comments on air, like calling Trump the “Martin Luther King of Healthcare,” but it was a tweet that got him fired.
CNN ousted Lord on Thursday after he posted “Sieg Heil” on Twitter in an exchange with the president of Media Matters, a media watchdog site.
According to Media Matters:
“On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as ‘Media Matters Fascists.’
“Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute ‘Sieg Heil!’”
Several hours after Lord tweeted his response to Angelo Carusone, CNN announced that he had been fired.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
Lord said he was mocking fascists with his tweet and that he has been misunderstood. He said in an interview that he greatly respected CNN’s management but disagreed with the decision.
“I love CNN, but I feel they are caving to bullies here,” he told the news channel.
Lord’s Racist, Sexist On-Air Comments
In November, at a meeting of The National Policy Institute, a think tank that is part of the alt-right movement, attendees praised both Trump and Hitler. A video taken by The Atlantic inside the conference in Washington, D.C., showed Richard Spencer, leader of the institute, shouting, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” as some of the people in attendance lifted their hands in a Nazi salute.
The National Policy Institute, a leading group of the alt-right movement buoyed by Trump's win, includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.
When asked about this meeting on CNN, Lord blamed Black Lives Matter and UnidosUS (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza) for the neo-Nazi group’s actions.
“The left, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or La Raza, I mean you can go back and back and back. Groups that identify themselves by race provoked this group to identify by race. This America,” he said.
In April, Lord addressed Trump’s push for Congress to undo The Affordable Care Act. He compared Trump to Martin Luther King Jr., calling him the “Martin Luther King of Healthcare”:
“When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular, he didn’t have the votes for it. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.”
Lord later doubled-down on his statements: “I made a comparison between Trump and King deliberately and with reason. Both men used or are threatening to use crisis to pass legislation.”
In a panel discussion Nov. 3 on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Lord said that the “Ku Klux Klan was formed as the military armor of the Democratic party.”
“The Ku Klux Klan literally lynched people, terrorized people,” Bakari Sellers said.
Sellers also addressed Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston’s statement that Democrats are trying to “play the race card” to win the presidential election.
He said to Kingston, “Congressman, you don’t want to deal with race.” He added, “You support Donald Trump. Why don’t you apologize to the Central Park Five? Why don’t you apologize to Miss Mae Wiggins, who was discriminated against …”
Lord then said, “When is Bakari going to get around to apologizing for slavery? I’m still waiting on that.”
In June, following Trump’s sexist tweet against “Morning Joe” host Mika Brezezinski saying she was “bleeding badly from a facelift,” Lord defended Trump by attacking the media and Brzezinski.
“There is another world out there, I mean, this business that this is misogynistic, I find that so patronizing of Mika Brzezinski,” he said. “She’s a liberal talk radio, or talk TV host. Like any guy. So if he would say these things about a guy, why not her?”
Prior to notice of Lord’s firing, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement posted on Twitter, “CNN has given Lord an exception to their standards and allow him to act with impunity.”
In response to CNN firing Lord, The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect tweeted a statement from Steven Goldstein, its executive director:
— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) August 10, 2017
Lord, a former Reagan administration staffer, joined the network as a commentator in 2015. His contract was due to expire at the end of the year.