On Wednesday, the outspoken CNN anchor condemned NBC and the president after the network announced it was hosting a town hall with Trump that would air simultaneously with the town hall broadcast of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Biden's town hall took place in Philadelphia and was hosted by ABC while Trump's was held in Miami. NBC Today Show host Savannah Guthrie moderated the Trump event.
Lemon spoke out during a segment of his CNN news show with peer Chris Cuomo.
"This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC," he said. "And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the president of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. It is embarrassing."
Cuomo nodded his head in agreement with Lemon.
"How does that help the American people? How does that inform the electorate by putting those two people on at the same time and making people choose from one to the other," Lemon asked. "And don't give me that BS about 'Well, you can tape one.' That's not what this is about."
Thank you @donlemon for speaking out about NBC’s (MSNBC’s) decision to air Trump’s town hall tomorrow night. I was gonna watch out of morbid curiosity, but I have changed my mind!#BoycottNBC
— cαηα∂α нαтεs тя☭мρ (@Trump_Detester) October 15, 2020
Initially, the town halls were supposed to be a debate. However, Trump opted out at the last minute after discovering that it would be a virtual event. The final presidential debate is scheduled for later this month.
Although NBC reported that the leader tested negative for COVID-19, the network held the town hall outside and implemented social distancing as a precaution.
The 54-year-old was not the only news personality who was outdone by the network's decision. Rachel Maddow, who is also employed by NBC, expressed her disapproval over the network's decision during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris.
"Are you as mad as everybody else that NBC is doing a town hall with President Trump tomorrow instead of the debate, at the same time that Vice President Biden's going to be on ABC," Maddow asked Harris.
Harris didn't take the bait but did answer with a thoughtful response.
"I'm not touching that," the former attorney general replied. "I know who I'll be watching."
An insider at ABC News told The Wrap that the competing network was shocked by NBC's decision to host President Trump's town hall. An NBC News insider also told the publication that the network stood behind its decision.
"The Trump campaign did not dictate or request the time slot, nor express any preference," an NBC News spokesperson told The Wrap.
President Trump's town hall lasted an hour, and Biden's lasted for 90 minutes.
The New York Times reported that the two candidates were on opposite ends of the coronavirus spectrum. Trump praised an extremist conspiracy-theory group and veered away from his campaign to attack the 2020 election process.
Biden made better use of his time, tackling hot topics like the pandemic and vowed to restore normalcy to the country's government.