An African-American news presenter has slammed Donald Trump for saying inner cities where black communities live are "worse than Afghanistan". Trump commented at a rally on 20 September that black communities were in the worse shape they had ever been in.

But CNN host Don Lemon hit out saying the comments were insulting and "as a person of colour who has lived the last 50 years in this country, things have never been better for African-Americans".

The row began when Trump told a rally in North Carolina: "You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They're worse – honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities. And I say this to some of the African-American communities and I think it's resonating,"

But Lemon hit back during a panel discussion featuring journalist Peter Beinart and Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who defended the Republican's statement as "fact".

Lewandowski had said Trump was asking black people what they had to lose by electing him, given the statistics on poverty in African-American communities.

But Lemon told Lewandowski: "As a person of colour who has lived the last 50 years in this country, things have never been better for African-Americans."

He added: "Why doesn't he ask those African-American friends why the words he uses are so insulting?

"Because I'm sure they would tell him, if they were indeed his friends, if they were indeed employees who weren't afraid of him and of losing their jobs.

"They would sit down and say, 'listen Mr. Trump, what you're saying is insulting, and I know you're not talking to me, you're talking at me. And I know that you're not actually reaching out to me, you're reaching out to make other people more comfortable with voting for you.'

"That's what I would say to him, as someone who has given him a chance and has interviewed him more than eight or nine times. And if he, as a candidate for president of the United States, doesn't understand that, then he doesn't want to represent all of the people in this country."