White House Swipes At Don Lemon’s Comments About Age


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Don Lemon’s comments about women being “in their prime” has caught the attention of The White House who hinted at criticizing the comment.

It came when White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC spokesman John Kirby spoke to the press on Friday.

The pair referenced that they were talking about “age” behind the scenes and it caught the attention of one reporter.

“And joining me today from the National Security Council is John Kirby, who will preview the trip. John? Do you want to come up? You’re welcome,” the press secretary said.

“Great. Yeah, sure. Yeah. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t rushing anything,” Kirby said.

“It’s all — it’s all yours. No, no. I know we were talking about something else back there,” Jean-Pierre said.

“We — we were —,” Kirby said.

“But we’re not going to mention that. (Laughs.)” the press secretary said.

“Yeah,” Kirby said. “Well, now you opened it up.”


“(Laughs.) I know I did,” Jean-Pierre said.

“It had something to do with my age, I think,” Kirby said.

After Kirby spoke the pair made another reference.

“With that, I’m happy to take some questions,” Kirby said.

“John, neither of us have hit our prime yet,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Beg your pardon? (Laughter.) Oh, oh, we’re back to my age again. Yeah. (Laughs.)” the press secretary said.

As the questions went on a reporter wanted to know more about the reference.

Q And then, switching topics. On a topic that you brought up —

JEAN-PIERRE: Uh-oh. (Laughs.)

Q — with John Kirby earlier —JEAN-PIERRE: Oh.

Q — when you said that neither you or he are — have “hit your prime yet.” Does the President have anything to say about this national conversation that was sparked after a claim that was seemingly made in defense of the President, that Nikki Haley is not in her prime because women hit their prime in their 20, 30s, and 40s?

JEAN-PIERRE: You know, I’m not going to comment directly to that. That is something, clearly, that needs to be addressed by —

Q Right, I only bring it up because you — you brought it up with John.

JEAN-PIERRE: No, no. No, no. I’m going to say something. Just give me a second. I — I have something to say.

When you look at this President’s administration, and we have talked about the numbers before, it is — there are more women in his senior — in his senior advisor, in his senior staff roles than men. And I think when you think about that, you see a President that truly — that truly takes pride and takes deep consideration into making sure — and meaningful consideration to making sure there are diverse voices around him.


And I think that’s impor- — that’s important. And I — and so what I want to say is: Just watch his actions, watch what he’s done.

You just asked me about — about — about Julie Su. And I laid out what the President has done in having the most diverse administration. And so I think all you have to do is look at the numbers, look at the people around him, look what he’s been able to do, look how he’s lift up different communities, including women. And I’m just going to leave it there.

It is, clearly, truly a priority for him. And I’ll just leave it there.

Lemon did not appear on the “CNN This Morning” show on Friday, a day after the incident, but did issue an apology on Twitter.

“The reference I made to a woman’s ‘prime’ this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn’t define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day,” he said.


During the segment on Thursday he took a swipe at Haley but managed to rankle the feathers of his co-host on the show.

Lemon said that Haley should not focus on people being in their “prime” because she is not in her “prime” as a woman in her 50s.

“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry, When a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” he said before Harlow interrupted.

“What are you talking — Wait…,” she said.

“That’s not according to me,” Lemon responded.

“Prime for what?” Harlow said.

“It depends. It’s just like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20s, 30s, 40s,” Lemon said.

“Forties! Oh my God, I have another decade,” Harlow said.


“I’m not saying I agree with that. So I think she has to be careful about saying that, you know, politicians are in their prime,” lemon said, stumbling as he backtracked.

“Are you talking about prime for, like, childbearing? Or are you talking about prime for being president?” Harlow pressed.

“Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s. I’m just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politics are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is,” Lemon said.


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