In a contentious, no-holds-barred interview, CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night fired barbs at Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas until Cruz challenged the treatment he was getting.
The interview was only seconds old when Cuomo went from saying they would talk about Cruz’s new book about the Supreme Court to asking Cruz “Will you say playing nice with the Proud Boys is wrong?”
“Well listen, I’ve condemned the Proud Boys long ago. I think White supremacists, Klansmen, Nazis, are ignorant bigoted morons. I also think that the American people care about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They care about the Supreme Court. It was a big reason the president was elected. It was a big reason we have a Republican [Senate] majority.
“And I think this vacancy on the court, it’s the reason I wrote this book that was released just this week, because it focuses on the rights that are precious to so many of us, free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment,” Cruz replied.
“Now, I will exercise my right, and say, ‘was the president wrong to go soft on the Proud Boys in the debate last night?'” Cuomo said
After praising President Donald Trump for reiterating his denunciation of white supremacy on Wednesday, Cruz noted “the press is completely hypocritical on this issue,” later adding, The press is partisan in this regard. So, 10 years ago, 2010, Joe Biden gave a eulogy for Robert Byrd, who was a Grand Cyclops of the KKK.”
“You’re really going to go with that?” Cuomo replied, later adding, “I know you’re a master debater. And Professor Dershowitz tells me you were the star, smartest student he ever had at Harvard Law. You’re going to go with that weak-ass argument here? Byrd, who had a complete enlightenment about how hate was wrong, who changed his life, …”
“Chris, Chris, have you ever eulogized a Klansman? I haven’t,” Cruz said as they talked over each other.
Cuomo then jabbed Cruz for not attacking Trump.
“The old Ted Cruz, who [Trump] called Lyin’ Ted, when he wasn’t insulting your wife and your father, tweeted, ‘Hey, you’re better than this, Mr. President.’ What happened to that Ted? I don’t know if he changed or did just you changed, for some reason, Senator?” Cuomo said.
“Chris, I’m glad you take tips on insults from other folks,” Cruz shot back.
“Really? Am I insulting you, Sir?” Cuomo said.
“Oh, yes, you are, and you’re enjoying it. That’s fine,” Cruz said, before adding, “Chris, there was a time when CNN actually cared about being journalistic and talking about facts. Donald Trump broke you guys.”
Cruz then compared the Trump agenda to Biden’s, trying to make his point that Biden’s policies would actually hurt Americans. Cuomo, however, persisted in bringing up the primary campaign of 2016, when Trump and Cruz were attacking each other.
The interview then largely degenerated into bickering — Cruz at one point compared it to Tuesday’s presidential debate — until, about the 8:25 mark in the video above, Cruz asked, “Chris? Do you actually want to talk substance? Or just insult?”
“We are talking substance. I just like to call out the hypocrisy…because the audience heads stay on straight that way,” replies the host amid an interview ranging from the debate to Covid-19 testing. pic.twitter.com/XOaVrHxVjD
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) October 1, 2020
“We are talking substance I just like to call out the hypocrisy when it’s there, because the audience’s heads stay on straight that way,” Cuomo said.
Later on in the interview, about the 9:25 mark, Cruz brought up how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the CNN host’s brother “has presided over the State with the highest death rate in the country” during the coronavirus crisis. (According to Statistica, New York state actually has the second highest coronavirus death rate, though it’s close behind No. 1 New Jersey.)
He noted that Andrew Cuomo was “the same governor who said we didn’t need to shut down, go out, and then he had to turn around and do it differently because cases popped all over the place? That guy? Is that what you are talking about?”
Cruz also noted the outcome in strict lockdown states.
“Does it trouble you at all that New York and New Jersey had the highest death rates?” he said.
Cuomo and Cruz continued to jab each other.
“Of course, it all troubles me, Ted! And to watch guys like you stand by and stroke your beard like a wise man instead of telling the president to get on it when you have power is a problem,” Cuomo said.
“How about telling your brother to get on it,” Cruz said.
“My brother will stand on his own record,” Cuomo said. “Why don’t you talk to the president like you talk to my brother, Ted? You afraid of him?
“You think he’ll smack you down at home? Is that what it is? Like he shut you up in the primary?”
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