Don Lemon attacks judge in Kyle Rittenhouse case as possibly racist, treating defendant like his ‘grandson’

Left-wing CNN host Don Lemon went after the judge presiding over the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse Friday, criticizing his treatment of prosecutor Thomas Binger, and suggesting he might be “racist” and possibly biased in favor of the defense.

During an appearance on “New Day,” Lemon described Judge Bruce Schroeder’s Wednesday tongue-lashing of Binger during court proceedings as “unusual and concerning,” arguing it was evidence the American court and criminal justice systems needed to be reformed. He also suggested Schroeder could be “racist” because of a joke he made involving Asian food and that Rittenhouse would be viewed differently if he were Black. 

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“I think people think it’s normal,” Lemon said of Schroeder’s behavior towards Binger as he discussed the trial with host John Berman. “I listen to our political pundits, and political pundits on all channels and they seem to – I guess they’re used to giving deference to a judge … the judge’s behavior. And most people are not in courtrooms every day like that.” 

“If that is the behavior that is happening in courtrooms every day, Houston, we have a problem, Kenosha, we have a problem, America, we have a problem,” he added. “His behavior is, at the very least, unusual and concerning.” 

Don Lemon and Judge Bruce Schroeder (Getty Images/AP)

Don Lemon and Judge Bruce Schroeder (Getty Images/AP)
(Getty Images/AP)

Binger came under intense scrutiny from Schroeder Wednesday when he was accused by the latter of improperly trying to introduce testimony during his cross-examination of Rittenhouse, which Schroeder had earlier said he was not inclined to include.

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“This judge yelling at a prosecutor, anyone in the courtroom … I think it’s problematic. And I don’t think it’s normal,” Lemon said. “You can decide or not if you think he’s biased. Most of the people I’ve seen on television who analyze, does some analysis of courtrooms, seems to think that there is a bias towards the defense.” 

Lemon argued that Schroeder was usually “very pro-prosecution,” but that he seemed to be “very pro-defense” in this case, before claiming, without providing evidence, that he was “treating Kyle Rittenhouse as if he’s his grandson” while berating the prosecution.

“No one needs to be berated like that in a courtroom,” he added. “Now, I understand that judges, attorneys, prosecutors, they have very tough jobs. But does that need to happen?”

Judge Bruce Schroeder, right, reprimands Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, left, in his conduct in line of questioning while cross-examining Kyle Rittenhouse during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday.

Judge Bruce Schroeder, right, reprimands Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, left, in his conduct in line of questioning while cross-examining Kyle Rittenhouse during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday.
(Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

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Lemon suggested that a joke Schroeder made in the courtroom about Asian food arriving late for lunch was racist towards Asians and a joke about the supply chain issues currently facing the U.S. 

“Let’s hope for 1 o’clock. I don’t know. I hope the Asian food isn’t coming … isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor,” Schroeder said prior to the court recessing for lunch.

Others in the media also accused the judge of making a joke as a slight against Asian people rather than a reference to the ongoing California port issues.

“So this is the perfect case – this one, and the one that’s happening in Georgia – these are perfect cases to bring light to what happens in our criminal justice system, in the court system, because everybody, most of these people, they think it is normal,” Lemon said, also referring to the ongoing trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. “Maybe this is evidence that we need to reform our court system and our criminal justice system.” 

Kyle Rittenhouse looks on as John Black, use-of-force expert, testifies during Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 11, 2021.

Kyle Rittenhouse looks on as John Black, use-of-force expert, testifies during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 11, 2021.
(Mark Hertzberg/Pool via REUTERS)

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“Imagine if Kyle Rittenhouse was an 18 or 17-year-old Black kid with a gun. How would people feel? How would the judge treat him? How would pundits think about this case? What about the people on the right who are making Kyle Rittenhouse out to be a choir boy because he went across state lines, inserted himself into a situation that he had nothing to do with, was carrying a gun that he wasn’t supposed to carry because he was too young?” Lemon said. 

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

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