“Tonight I also want to talk about some uncomfortable truth: the truth about who really carries out domestic terror attacks in this country,” Lemon said during the CNN Live segment.
Lemon was referring to a statement he made earlier this week during a CNN Live conversation with fellow anchor Chris Cuomo in which he said “the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right.” Many conservatives were furious with Lemon, suggesting his remarks were “race baiting” and “unadulterated racism or bigotry.”
The CNN anchor addressed some of those criticisms by looking at “the cold, hard facts.”
“The evidence is overwhelming,” he added.
Lemon pointed to several reputable studies that showed the majority of domestic terror attacks in the U.S. in the last two decades have been perpetrated by far-right violent extremists, most of whom are white.
According to a 2017 report from the Office of Government Accountability, the majority of domestic terrorism between 2001 and 2016 was committed by right-wing extremists. Lemon also cited a 2017 report from the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund which found that there were nearly twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists (the majority of whom are white) as by Islamic extremists in the U.S. in the last decade.
“Those are the facts,” Lemon reiterated. “So people who are angered about what I said are missing the entire point. We don’t need to worry about people who are thousands of miles away. The biggest threats are homegrown. The facts prove that.”
Lemon made his original Monday statement in reference to the three domestic terrorism incidents that took place last week: Gregory Alan Bush is accused of killing two black people at a grocery store, Cesar Sayoc is charged with sending pipe bombs to several of the president’s challengers, and Robert Bowers is accused of walking into a Pittsburgh synagogue and fatally shooting 11 people after screaming, “All Jews must die!”
Although only two of the three accused perpetrators are white, Sayoc reportedly looked up to white supremacists and once said he wished “to go back to the Hitler days.”
CNN did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.