08/07/2018 15:16 EDT | Updated 08/07/2018 15:16 EDT

Don Lemon: Donald Trump 'Traffics In Racism And Is Fueled By Bullying'

He said the president's attacks on black people send a powerful, racist message.

A calm but steely Don Lemon struck back at Donald Trump on Monday night, saying the president "traffics in racism and is fuelled by bullying."

In a withering monologue on "CNN Tonight," Lemon slammed the president's "nasty, hateful swipe" on Twitter that bashed the intelligence of both the CNN host and basketball star and philanthropist LeBron James. Trump tweeted that Lemon was the "dumbest man on television," and he who made LeBron "look smart, which isn't easy to do."

Lemon said that Trump's attacks on the intelligence of black people — including multiple insults about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) — sends a powerful, racist message.

"Referring to African Americans as dumb is one of the oldest canards of America's racist past — and present — that black people are of inferior intelligence," Lemon said.

"Let me not mince words here: This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying — from keeping children at the border in cages to bullying journalists at every one of his rallies," Lemon said. The president "divides by race and tries to conquer decency by smearing and besmirching the truth and the people who fight to uphold it."

Fortunately, there was an "overwhelmingly negative response" to Trump's "unfair and unkind attack on a good man, LeBron James," Lemon noted. But he also raised concerns about Trump's treatment of immigrants and minorities who don't have a sports or media platform.

"Will the country stand up for them?" Lemon asked. "We, the decent and truly patriotic people who really love America and believe in its greatness, have to — because clearly, Donald Trump won't."

Last week, Lemon responded to Trump's insults on Twitter:

In his interview with Lemon, LeBron accused Trump of using sports to "divide us." That's something he said he can't "relate to" because "sports was the first time I was around someone white."

James, who signed with the Los Angles Lakers last month, also indicated that the president was enabling racist behavior:

Check out what else Lemon had to say on Monday in an interview with Chris Cuomo: