Don Lemon Is Missing From 'CNN This Morning' Monday Amid Controversy

Don Lemon was missing from Monday's episode of CNN This Morning amid the fallout from his controversial comments last week about Republican politician Nikki Haley. Lemon was notably absent from Monday morning's broadcast, with his co-host Poppy Harlow telling viewers that "Don has the day off." It marks his second day away from the show, as he did not appear Friday morning either.

On Thursday, during a discussion about the ages of politicians, Lemon said that the 51-year-old Haley was not "in her prime." He said a woman was considered in her prime "in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s." When he was challenged by Harlow, Lemon said, "Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just saying what the facts are." He has since apologized, but he has been widely condemned, including by CNN CEO Chris Licht. The New York Times reports that Licht chastised Lemon during an editorial phone call on Friday, calling his remarks "upsetting, unacceptable and unfair" as well as a "huge distraction."

The New York Post reports that Lemon apologized in the call with his colleagues around 9 a.m. on Friday. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone. What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn't said it," Lemon reportedly said on the call. "I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women. When I make a mistake, I own it, and I own this one as well. I understand why you are upset and disappointed. I was trying to make the point that no one's age should define their ambition or potential for success and I was saying those comments to Nikki Haley."

In his initial remarks, Lemon was responding to Haley's suggestion that all elected officials over the age of 75 should be required to undergo "mandatory mental competency tests." Lemon suggested that Haley might be opening herself up to criticism as well.

"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," Lemon said. When his co-anchor Poppy Harlow asked what he meant by "prime," Lemon continued: "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 politicians 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."