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Trump defender Jeffrey Lord cut from CNN over Nazi salute tweet

An ill-advised tweet has led to the removal of another CNN personality.

The cable news network fired contributor Jeffrey Lord, a staunch supporter of President Trump, on Thursday after he tweeted “Sieg Heil!” to Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, the liberal watchdog group.

“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN representative said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”

Lord directed the tweet with the phrase used as a greeting in Nazi Germany during an exchange with Carusone on Twitter.

The pundit came under fire in April for describing Trump as “the Martin Luther King of healthcare.”

Lord was a relatively obscure conservative writer who served in the Reagan administration before he became a frequent talking head on CNN during the 2016 presidential campaign. He was an unwavering supporter of Trump during the campaign for the Republican nomination and appeared frequently since.

Lord joined CNN as a paid contributor in August 2015.

Media Matters has been a longtime critic of Lord’s steadfast defense of Trump, and of CNN for keeping him on the air. The group has also pushed for the firing and advertiser boycott of Sean Hannity, the leading right-wing host on Fox News Channel.

Lord targeted Media Matters this week in a column for the American Spectator in which he called the group “fascists.” It led to an exchange with Carusone on Twitter that escalated to Lord’s use of “Sieg Heil.”

Lord later told CNN.com in an interview that he used the term to mock Media Matters, which he said is “bullying advertisers to take people off the air.”

Lord’s ouster marks the third time this year social media activity has gotten CNN on-air personnel pushed out the door.

The network cut ties with comedian Kathy Griffin after she posted a photo of herself holding up a fake bloody severed head resembling Trump. Griffin had co-hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage with its star anchor Anderson Cooper.

Reza Aslan’s CNN series “Believer” was canceled after the author posted a tweet that used a crude term for fecal matter to describe the president.

While Lord has made a number of controversial statements, CNN kept him in the fold as a counterbalance to Trump critics who regularly appear on the network.

Lord is not expected to join Fox News Channel, where a more favorable view of the Trump White House is often presented by commentators and hosts. A Fox News spokesperson said Thursday that the network has no plans to hire Lord.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


UPDATES:

4:20 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information on Lord’s firing.

This article was originally published at 2:40 p.m.

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