The CNN anchor was responding to comments made by U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald, who told reporters Thursday that the President and Attorney General Bill Barr were "directly and actively" monitoring the investigation into Floyd's officer-involved death.
"As long as we’re being honest right now, nobody wants to hear from the White House or the attorney general right now," Lemon began, before highlighting Trump's long history of racist rhetoric. "No one wants to hear from the man who wanted the death penalty to come back for the [exonerated] Central Park Five. No one wants to hear from the man who said that the former president [Barack Obama] was not born in the United States. Nobody wants to hear from the man who said there were very fine people on both sides [in the deadly Charlottesville protests]."
He continued: "No one wants to hear from the person that they perceive as contributing to situations like this in our society — not directly, but allowing people like that to think that they can get away from this. No one wants to hear from the Birther-in-Chief, from the 'sons of bitches'-calling person, who says that athletes are kneeling for this very reason."
Over the past several days, thousands of people have taken to the streets, demanding justice for Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a white officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Video of the incident showed a handcuffed Floyd pleading for his life, repeatedly telling the officer he couldn't breathe. He eventually went silent and was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.
The four Minneapolis officers who were involved in the killing have since been terminated, but have yet to be arrested or formally charged. The case has sparked a growing number of nationwide protests, most of which have been peaceful demonstrations, while others have lead to civil unrest. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday that activated the state's National Guard "to help protect Minnesotans' safety and maintain peace."
"I understand the anger of the people upset in Minneapolis, Minnesota," Lemon said during his on-air commentary. "I don’t condone the actions. I don’t understand the actions, but I understand the anger."