Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Friday that sexist attacks like the one launched a day earlier by “CNN This Morning” co-host Don Lemon are “something that I have faced all of my life.”
“It was Don Lemon yesterday, it was [‘The View’ co-host] Whoopi Goldberg the day before, it will be somebody else tomorrow,” Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“I have always made the liberals’ heads explode,” Haley added. “They can’t stand the fact that a minority conservative female would not be on the Democratic side, because they know I pull independents, they know I pull suburban women, they know I pull minorities over to what we are trying to do.”
Lemon caused an uproar on Thursday when he panned Haley’s call during her campaign kickoff event Wednesday for politicians aged 75 and older to undergo regular mental competency exams.
“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,” Lemon told co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins. “A woman is considered to be in their prime in [their] 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
“What are you talking about?” asked a seemingly shocked Harlow, 40. “Wait, prime for what?”
“That’s not according to me,” Lemon backpedaled. “It’s like, prime. If you look it up. If you Google when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20s, 30s, and 40s.”
“Look, he made that comment,” Haley, 51, told Fox in reference to the 56-year-old Lemon. “I wasn’t sitting there saying ‘Sexist, middle-aged CNN anchors need to have metal competency tests’ — although he may have just proven that point.
“What I was saying is, we need to be transparent. Those elected officials that are making key decisions for us Americans on national security and keeping our kids safe and the debt — yes, we need to know exactly that we’re sending people that are mentally competent to do that,” she added. “But look, the liberals are gonna continue to show themselves. They can’t stand the fact that I am a Republican and I am a conservative. And you know what? It rolls off my shoulders I don’t think too much about it.”
Lemon tweeted out an attempt at an apology Thursday afternoon that was widely panned for neither addressing Haley directly nor using the word “sorry.”
Lemon, a former CNN prime-time host who was shifted to mornings by new CEO Chris Licht, was absent from “CNN This Morning” Friday after Harlow walked off the set following their tense exchange Thursday, sources told The Post.
The sources added that tension between Lemon, Harlow, and Collins has “been smoldering for months” as the show has failed to gain traction in the ratings. The Post previously reported that Lemon bawled out Collins, 30, in front of staffers following the Dec. 8 edition of the show — accusing her of “interrupting” him.
“Chris isn’t happy and he has spoken to Don a couple of times today,” a network source told The Post Thursday. “Don knows it can’t happen again.”
Additional reporting by Alexandra Steigrad