CNN fires pundit over Nazi salute tweet
NEW YORK (AP) — CNN fired conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord on Thursday after he tweeted a Nazi salute at a critic.
A network spokesperson confirmed that Lord was no longer with the network and said “Nazi salutes are indefensible.” The statement came hours after Lord tweeted the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil!” at the head of a liberal advocacy group, Media Matters for America.
Lord said in a telephone interview Thursday night that he respected CNN and its journalists, but fundamentally disagreed with the network’s decision to fire him. He said his “Sieg Heil!” tweet was not an endorsement of Nazism or fascist tactics, but was meant to mock Media Matters and its use of boycotts of advertisers of conservative voices such as Sean Hannity, which Lord equated with fascism.
“I want to make something very clear. I have nothing but respect, affection and love for CNN. I think the world of CNN,” Lord told The Associated Press. “I think they’re terrific people and serious people.”
He called himself a “First Amendment fundamentalist” and called CNN’s decision disappointing. “From my perspective CNN caved on the First Amendment of all things. I disagree. I respectfully disagree.”
He declined to get into specifics of how he was fired, saying he wanted to keep that a private conversation.
Retained by CNN in August 2015, Lord was an indefatigable on-air supporter of Donald Trump throughout his candidacy and since his election. A contributor to the conservative magazine The American Spectator, Lord is a former aide to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan.
He had repeatedly clashed with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone, whose group condemned CNN for employing him as a commentator.
Following a harsh exchange of tweets with Carusone earlier this week, Lord posted an article for The American Spectator on Thursday morning, calling Carusone’s group the “Media Matters Fascists” and casting them as “anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.”