CNN severed ties with Jeffrey Lord Thursday after Lord tweeted, “Sieg Heil!” in what he characterized as an attempt to “mock” Nazism and fascism.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
The confusion began as a tangle between Lord and Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog group. MMFA has been supporting an advertising boycott of Fox News’ “Hannity,” and Lord wrote a column in the American Spectator Thursday castigating the group as “anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.”
It was Lord’s second column in as many days on the subject. In the first installment, he compared MMFA to the propaganda machines in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.
When Carusone responded to Lord on Twitter Thursday to point out his name was misspelled in the headline of Lord’s column, Lord responded, “Sieg Heil!”
In a barrage of follow-up tweets, Lord contended invoking the Nazi salute was a way of “mocking” Carusone and the organization.
Lord did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After the “Sieg Heil!” tweet, Carusone issued a statement on Twitter calling for Lord’s firing.
Lord’s tenure at CNN was marked by a number of controversial statements.
In April, he shocked an African-American panelist by describing President Trump as “the Martin Luther King of health care.”
“When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill. He didn’t have the votes for it,” Lord said. “Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.”
Symone Sanders, the former national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, was aghast.
“Jeffrey, you do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that look like me were being beaten,” Sanders said.