(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
CNN severed ties with a prominent Donald Trump defender after he tweeted the words “Sieg Heil!” at a liberal activist.
CNN announced Thursday that Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan administration staffer who often appeared on the network to defend the administration, was no longer with the network.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNN.
Earlier this week, Lord engaged in a heated argument on Twitter with Angelo Carusone, the president of the liberal group Media Matters for America. Lord wrote a column for The American Spectator published Thursday morning calling Carusone’s group, which had been promoting an ad boycott against Fox News host Sean Hannity, as the “Media Matters Fascists.”
The article, titled “Fascist Media Matters Moves to Silence Hannity,” described Carusone’s group as “anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.”
Lord shared the column with Carusone on Twitter Thursday. “Your headline has a mistake in it,” Carusone responded. “Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.”
Lord’s response on Thursday afternoon was “Sieg Heil!”
Responding to a storm of criticism, Lord defended his tweet by saying he was “mocking a fascist.”
After the incident, Lord continued to spar with Twitter users, saying that President Reagan, under whom he served, would have ''loved'' his stance against 'fascists.'
Last summer, Lord penned a piece
for the Spectator, a conservative magazine, accusing the New York Times' Cairo bureau chief of antisemitism in a tweet critiquing an article by Bret Stephens, a conservative, Jewish then-new hire at the Times. He has also defended President Trump and advisor Steve Bannon against accusations of antisemitism.
When the Trump campaign tweeted a photo of a Star of David pictured over dollar bills, calling rival Hillary Clinton ''corrupt,'' the team came under intense criticism. While the campaign claimed the star depicted was a ''sheriff's star," the image was later replaced. At the time, Lord was quick to come to Trump's defense
, repeating the campaign's claims about the usage of the star and decrying antisemitism accusations. Shoshana Kranish contributed to this report.