CNN announced Thursday that it has officially cut all ties with commentator Jeffrey Lord. The news comes after a controversial tweet prompted many of his more liberal critics to demand the network let him go.
The trouble started when Lord got into a spat on Twitter with Angela Carusone, president of Media Matters, a group he’s brushed up against in the past. Lord tweeted “Sieg Heil!” at Carusone, a popular salute used by the Nazis in World War II.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
Lord is a former Reagan administration staffer who is currently a columnist for the conservative magazine The American Spectator. He was brought on to CNN in 2015 as one of the first fully pro Donald Trump commentators after the then candidate first entered the GOP primary race. The network has since expanded its pro-Trump panels after the election.
While Lord maintains that his use of the Nazi phrase was an effort to mock both Nazis and fascists, many still find his reasoning unsatisfactory. In the same thread, he responded to outrage saying, “You apparently take offense at mocking Nazis and Fascists. Wow.”
The Anne Frank Center tweeted a rebuke of Lord’s use of the phrase.
As Variety notes, the Trump administration has made CNN a target for criticism, forcing it to shift and adjust its relationships to on-air personalities like the 61-year-old Lord quite frequently.