CNN’s Don Lemon on Orlando Shooting: ‘The Media Is Not Trying to Make This About Guns’

Thursday on “CNN Tonight,” host Don Lemon and network political commentator Kayleigh McEnany, a supporter presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, got into heated back-and-forth debate about the media’s focus on the gun issue aspects of last week’s terrorist mass shooting in Orlando, FL.

Partial transcript as follows:

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I do think that she has intimated that, because she was asked if she agrees with the Supreme Court ruling that basically says the Second Amendment entails a right to actually hold the weapon, it’s called the Heller case, and she said, oh, I’m not sure if I agree with that interpretation.

So that I think is debatable. But I do want to say I agree with Ana 100 percent, and I think that we should take partisan politics out of it, and that means budging on the various issues. And Donald Trump, we’ve seen him say, I want to look into it, and perhaps support, talk with the NRA about making sure that people on the terror watch list do not take guns.


LEMON: OK. Kayleigh, let me say this about…

MCENANY: I think that’s reasonable and that is sensible.

LEMON: Let me read this. I want to read the PolitiFact on the Heller decision, OK? So, it says talking about Hillary Clinton and what you just said that she intimated that. “This suggests that Clinton disagrees. Clinton, she states that she would have the power to craft commonsense laws and keep their residents safe.”

“That citizen state should have common — the power of common, the power to craft commonsense laws to keep their residence safe. That’s what she said. This suggests, according to the PolitiFact that Clinton disagrees with the court declaring that district ban on handguns unconstitutional, not necessarily the individual right itself.”

“A position that is more or less in line with what George W. Bush, that administration position was on Heller, of recognizing the right, but allowing reasonable curtailment.”

“So, here’s what they say, that for this claim to hold water to support the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment abolishment that needs to be more direct so they rated it false, and they rate Donald Trump’s statement false about Hillary Clinton wanting to destroy the Second Amendment and using the Heller decision as proof that she wants to destroy the Second Amendment is just completely false.”

MCENANY: Hillary Clinton, it is absolutely fair to question whether she supports the individual constitutional right to hold a weapon if she wants to call into question the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on Heller.

I think that’s a very fair way to say it, does she want to abolish it, does she not support the individual right to have an arm. It doesn’t matter. That is semantics at that point. She is not a staunch Second Amendment to center, but I really don’t think that’s the point now, Don, because the media is trying desperately to make this about guns, this is about Islamic terrorism…


LEMON: No, the media is not trying to make this about guns.

MCENANY: Yes, you are.

LEMON: Kayleigh — Kalyeigh.

MCENANY: Yes, they are.

LEMON: The media is not trying to make this about guns.

MCENANY: Because we’re having…

LEMON: I’m speaking for the family members who I’ve been sitting down with since Sunday who are upset. Some are republicans, some are democrats, some are republicans, some — all of them say that they believe in the Second Amendment, but they’re tired of this partisan bickering, as Ana says, about the Second Amendment.

Donald Trump says that every turn that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and if that is a lie, then we are obligated to point it out. It is not true, and you should not come on national television saying it’s true when it is not. That is who is making this a partisan thing.


LEMON: Bringing it up is Donald Trump not the media.

MCENANY: No, because here is the thing. Here is the thing. We are talking this entire segment is about guns. Donald Trump is the one candidate out there who has budged and said, hey, my party needs to come around on this. Where is Barack Obama and where is the segment talking about Islamic extremism, because we can abolish guns like France did, basically that assault weapons banned.

But the last four terrorist attacks have all occurred despite assault weapons being banned under French law, they’ve all occurred with assault weapons. So, we can talk about guns.

But that is doing an injustice to the families. We can talk about guns, we need to make changes there but by ignoring Islamic extremism, this will happen again, we will have this discussion again, and it is doing a complete injustice to them to ignore the root of the problem.

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