CNN said goodbye to Jeffrey Lord on Thursday. The right-wing pundit was terminated after he tweeted a Nazi salute at Media Matters President Angelo Carusone.
It all started when Carusone tweeted at Lord, calling him out for spelling Carusone’s name wrong in the headline of a blog post Lord wrote for the American Spectator. In the post, Lord declared Media Matters a fascist organization intent on ending free speech in America.
The article was written in response to Carusone’s campaign to pull advertising support from another controversial ring-wing pundit, Sean Hannity. Things got heated rather quickly:
— Jeff Lord (@realJeffreyLord) August 10, 2017
Moments later, the Twitterverse erupted with tweets calling for Lord’s termination. Lord quickly clarified his Nazi tweet, saying he was mocking the real fascists: Media Matters and what he sees as its anti-free-speech agenda. In the middle of all the fascist-finger pointing, CNN decided that publicly tweeting a Nazi salute crossed the line.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
But in the time that Lord was with the network, he certainly spoke freely, making himself a political lightning rod for his views on Trump, race, the KKK and much more. Here is a look back on some of Lord's most controversial and eyebrow-raising statements.
That time Lord called the Klan a “leftist terrorist organization”
During coverage of the March 1, 2016, primaries, Lord went head-to-head with CNN commentator Van Jones over Donald Trump’s hesitancy to reject David Duke’s support. Jones argued that Trump had forcefully rejected terrorists from outside of the United States but had failed to call out Duke with the same force. Jones called the Klan a terrorist organization, and Lord interjected, “a leftist terrorist organization.” Cue quizzical looks. Jones pushed back, calling out Lord for playing “word games.”
“What difference does it make if you call them leftist?” Jones said. “You can call them chipmunks, for God’s sakes, they killed people.”
That moment when Lord said Trump’s “bad hombres” comment was not that bad
After Trump said this in the Oct. 19 presidential debate:
Panelist Patti Solis Doyle, who is Mexican American, responded to Trump's comments, saying " … that was very offensive … I was aghast at it. That’s just offensive. It’s offensive to Hispanics. It’s offensive to Mexicans.”
Lord quickly pushed back. “Oh come on, Patti. You’re an American. I am an American. I’ve heard that phrase all my life,” adding that the phrase was on 1950s American television. When Anderson Cooper and several other panelists laughed and insisted that 1950s TV was probably not the best benchmark for appropriate television, Lord doubled down on his argument. “I have never heard that compared to, say, the n-word,” he said. “Well, what’s wrong with it? There is nothing wrong with it.” Cue awkward silence.
That moment when Lord called Trump the Martin Luther King Jr. of health care
During an April 2017 appearance on CNN's “New Day,” Lord said, “Think of Donald Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care.”
“When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular and he didn’t have the votes for it,” he said. “Dr. King kept people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced.”
Democratic activist Symone Sanders took Lord to task, clarifying that MLK was marching because “basic humans rights were being withheld from these people merely because of the color of their skin. Let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing president Donald Trump.” Cue an amused “Oh boy” from “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota.
That moment when Lord said Democrats were guilty of having “foreign conversations” by talking to “Dreamer” students
During a July 2017 appearance on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Lord defended Sean Spicer’s dismissal of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians. Cooper questioned Spicer’s claim that there was no evidence that the “meetings had nothing to do with anything other than adoptions.” Lord responded by referencing an article he found “interesting” that suggested that every Democrat was guilty of having “foreign conversations” any time they took information from Dreamers.
“You mean like Dreamers the students?” panelist Christine Quinn, a liberal commentator, asked. Yes, Lord made clear, likening the students to “nonstate actors.”
“Oh Jeffrey,” said David Gergen. “You don't want to go there.”
That time he prompted Anderson Cooper to really go there
Sometimes, Lord was notable not for his own remarks but for how his hosts and co-panelists responded to him. That was true during an appearance on “Anderson Cooper 360.” Lord defended Trump after he called former FBI director James B. Comey a “nut job” during a meeting with Russian officials. “I don't care what he says to the Russians. He’s the president of the United States. … " Apparently Cooper just couldn’t take any more of Lord's eyebrow-raising remarks, and he snapped back.
“If he took a dump on his desk, you would defend it. I don’t know what [Trump] could do that you would not defend,” Cooper said. He later apologized, calling his remarks “crude” and “unprofessional.”