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August 10, 2017

Twitter scratches head over Jeffrey Lord's Nazi comment

CNN dismisses host after 'Sieg Heil' tweet at liberal activist

Hours after a tweet that referenced a Nazi victory salute turned Twitter on its head, CNN cut ties with one of its most recognizable faces on Thursday.

The network fired Jeffrey Lord for tweeting "Sieg Heil!" at Angelo Carusone, who heads the liberal group Media Matters for America, according to a report on CNN's website.

The former Reagan Administration staffer defended the tweet in a number of replies to outraged Twitter users, saying he was merely "mocking a fascist."

"Nazi salutes are indefensible," a network spokesperson said in a report on CNN's website. "Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network."

Lorde tweeted "LOL!" around 6 p.m. Thursday, shortly after news broke of his firing.

Lord and Carusone have a history of jawing with one another on social media.

The exchange on Thursday followed a column Lord wrote for The American Spectator Thursday morning, in which he dubbed Carusone's group the "Media Matters Fascists" and "anti-free speech bigots."

Lord tweeted a link to the article at Caruso, after which the Media Matters president replied, "Your headline has a mistake in it. Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don't take yourself seriously."

Lord then followed with the victory salute, which in turn sparked a tweetstorm.

Lord served former President Ronald Reagan as an associate political director. Lord's steadfast support of President Donald Trump helped him stand out from other commentators on the network after he joined CNN in August 2015.

He's made plenty of headlines since then, particularly when he called Trump the "Martin Luther King of health care" in April. He also took a dig on the air from CNN host Anderson Cooper, who appeared surprised that Lord would defend Trump describing former FBI Director James Comey as a "nutjob" to Russian officials.

"If you took a dump on his desk you would defend it," said Cooper, who would later apologize for the comment.

CNN's report on Lord's firing notes that he was the first analyst on the network to support Trump's candidacy.