Don Lemon was absent from CNN This Morning on Monday, apparently opting to extend his break after he landed at the center of controversy for on-air comments he made this past Thursday.
Lemon took a scheduled day off on Friday, but was expected to return after the weekend. Instead, he continued his vacation through the Presidents Day holiday.
The longtime CNN anchor has made headlines since he said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was not “in her prime.”
Lemon made the comment on the show’s Feb. 16 episode, while discussing Haley’s presidential campaign kickoff speech when the Republican White House hopeful called for “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”
Haley, 51, was likely referring to President Joe Biden, who is 80, and former President Donald Trump, who is 76.
But Lemon told his two female co-hosts he had a problem with Haley’s comments.
“She says people, politicians are not in their prime,” he said. “Nikki Haley is not in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”
Conservatives seized on his comments and accused Lemon of being sexist, prompting him to apologize.
The controversy and negative press come as the ratings for CNN This Morning continue to fall. According to TheWrap, the newly revamped morning show has posted the network’s lowest AM ratings in a decade.