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Don Lemon apologizes for his "inartful and irrelevant" remarks on women's "prime"

CNN anchor Don Lemon has apologized for his comments about women's "prime" during a segment about 51-year-old Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. 

On Thursday, Lemon, alongside his "CNN This Morning" co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, were discussing Haley's calls for "mandatory mental competency tests" for politicians over the age of 75. During the launch of her presidential campaign on Wednesday, Haley made one not-so-subtle dig at both Trump, who is 76 and President Biden who is 80. 

"America is not past our prime — it's just that our politicians are past theirs," she told a South Carolina crowd. 

Lemon chimed in, saying Haley was in no position to determine who is in their prime because of her age. 

"This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable," Lemon started. "I think it is the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians or something, are not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry... when a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

To which his co-host Poppy Harlow asks "Prime for what? ... Are you talking about prime for like childbearing? Or prime for being president?"

"Don't shoot the messenger," Lemon replied. "I'm just saying what the facts are. Google it, everybody at home. ... Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn't be in her prime, according to Google or whatever it is."

The comments generated backlash online, with Haley herself posting a clip of the exchange and labeling liberals as "sexist"

"BTW it's always the liberals who are the most sexist," she tweeted

Lemon apologized for his statements later Thursday, saying they were "inartful and irrelevant."

"The reference I made to a woman's "prime" this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it," Lemon tweeted. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."

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