Don Lemon Regrets Comments on Women 'in Their Prime'

Critics called his assessment of Nikki Haley sexist
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2023 3:18 PM CST
Don Lemon Says He Regrets Comments on Women's Prime
CNN anchors Kaitlan Collins, Don Lemon, and Poppy Harlow appear at the CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute on Dec. 11 in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

When Nikki Haley announced her presidential candidacy on Tuesday, she called for requiring politicians over age 75 to take mental competency tests. On CNN Thursday, host Don Lemon objected to what he considered Haley's premise, the Hill reports. "This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable," he said. "She says people, you know, politicians or something, are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry." Citing Google as his source, he went on to tell his audience that a woman is in her prime "in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s." A co-host, Poppy Harlow, asked him, "Prime for what?"

Later in the day, Lemon issued a statement after criticism from others, including Haley. The host referred to his commentary as "inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it." Lemon added that "a woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally." In response, Haley tweeted a video of the original conversation, writing that "liberals can't stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job. BTW, it's always the liberals who are the most sexist."

CNN bosses offered no comment on the matter, per ABC News. But Harlow pushed back at the time, asking Lemon: "Are you talking about prime for, like, childbearing? Or are you talking about prime for being president?" Lemon repeated that he was just relaying the facts as understood by Google. A former CNN correspondent, Kate Bennett, meanwhile, tweeted that Lemon's comments were "sexism, and completely offensive." And she found his "Google it" argument childish, per the Daily Beast. (Read more Don Lemon stories.)

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