Don Lemon didn't appreciate Stephen Colbert mocking him over the fact he dressed down on the job ... responding by comparing himself to Zelensky, Obama and Trayvon Martin.
The news anchor -- who now heads up the morning time slot on a new show called 'CNN This Morning' -- appeared genuinely hurt that the 'Late Show' host went in on him on national TV Thursday night ... making fun of a hoodie-suit DL wore that morning on the air.
Colbert was pretty forceful in his joking about Don's wardrobe choice, saying ... "As a wise man once said, 'What the f*** is that?'" He continued to poke fun at Don, and told him he had some explaining to do -- this while he was in the middle of an interview with a guest.
Welp, Don wasn't really in a laughing mood about this. Instead, he took a much more serious tone in firing back -- saying he believes SC showed his true colors here ... and then launched into a soliloquy about how conventional dress code standards have changed.
He says the pandemic has flipped work attire on its head, while noting he'd been asked by his bosses at CNN to have fun and be more causal -- which his Thursday outfit definitely was. Then, Don name-dropped the above-mentioned individuals ... watch for yourself.
It's an interesting convo. While Colbert appeared to talking in jest, Lemon seems to think there's more behind his chiding. Also, we might see DL rock the hoodie again after this.👀