Don Lemon Was Shunned by Key White House Official Ahead of His Firing

Don Lemon was developing a reputation for being difficult to work with before he was fired by CNN on Monday and new details are still coming out. Insiders told The New York Post that the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre actually refused to be interviewed by Lemon just last week. She agreed to appear on CNN This Morning but only if she would not be interviewed by anchor Lemon.

"The White House asked for her not to be interviewed by Don," a source familiar with the agreement explained. They also said that Jean-Pierre "refused" to take questions from Lemon, which is why she was interviewed by co-anchor Poppy Harlow on Thursday. They said that Jean-Pierre and the White House did not give a specific reason for refusing Lemon, but that the show's staff had their theories. They said: "He's just a constant f-ing distraction."

Lemon had been in the headlines for a series of missteps before his termination, including some awkward commentary about women aging in the workforce. The insider said that there were even more blunders behind the scenes that fans never saw. They said that the staff essentially had to "produce around" Lemon.

When the Post asked Jean-Pierre's office about this story, they said: "We're not going to detail our conversations with any media outlets, but as always the anchor is the network's call and not ours." However, a rep for the White House later denied the story altogether, saying that they did not set any conditions about Lemon in preparation for the interview.

"Karine never said this," they said. "The decision to have Poppy conduct the interview was made independently by CNN."

Lemon has been under scrutiny since he moved from the primetime evening news to CNN This Morning last year, as many viewers thought he had a discourteous attitude towards his co-anchors. When it comes to Jean-Pierre in particular, he had a somewhat tense interview with her last year where he asked if President Joe Biden had "the stamina, physically and mentally" to serve as president for a second term if he was re-elected in 2024.

"That is not a question that we should be even asking," Jean-Pierre replied at the time. Lemon defended his question by pointing out that pundits often questioned the mental fitness of former President Donald Trump, who was younger than Biden during his term and was the oldest president ever elected at the time. He said of Biden: "I'm sure he's up to the job, but it is my job as a journalist to ask."

Lemon announced that he had been fired from CNN on Monday, claiming that he had been let go without much warning or courtesy. The network denied his account but did not elaborate on the reason for his departure. It is not clear what comes next for the veteran reporter.