Don Lemon: Trump Saying Merry Christmas Is Racist

‘This is a dog whistle to the base’

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CNN's Don Lemon thinks President Trump saying "Merry Christmas" is a racist appeal to his base.

The anchor, commenting on Trump recently announcing that people are proud to say "Merry Christmas" again, said this rhetorical expression is a "dog whistle to his base."

"Dog whistle," in this context, means using a euphemism to convey a racist appeal that will only be understood by a smaller portion of the population. 

Lemon argued that because President Obama also said "Merry Christmas," Trump was only making the expression an issue to send a "dog whistle to the base." 

Panelist Margaret Hoover agreed: "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."

Here's a transcript of the segment:

[START CLIP]

TRUMP: "We can say merry Christmas again. People are saying Merry Christmas again, and we like the sound."

[END CLIP]

LEMON: "It’s war on Christmas rhetoric, not his war on Christmas. 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."

[START MONTAGE]

OBAMA: "Merry Christmas, happy holidays. Merry Christmas everybody. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas everybody. I want to wish everybody a merry Christmas and I want to wish all of you a very merry, merry Christmas. Merry Christmas everybody. Merry Christmas everybody. Happy holidays."
[END MONTAGE]

LEMON: "So Margaret, this is a line that we have heard from Donald Trump many, many — so why does he continue? This is a dog whistle to the base because no one ever stopped saying Merry Christmas."

HOOVER: "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 cultural, to the cultural resentment --"

LEMON: "These days it used to be, it used to be."

AVLON: "The politics of cultural resentment is all about narrative, right? 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."

LEMON: "And you two looking like a — like I said, all lit up"

HOOVER: "We're trying to unite the nation."

AVLON: "Merry Christmas.

LEMON: "And happy holidays to you, too."

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