CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night confronted Trump ally Steve Cortes, who served as an adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, for defending the president’s recent comments on violence.
Cuomo asked Cortes if Trump should apologize for telling evangelical leaders earlier this week that there will be “violence” if Democrats win control of the House in November’s midterm elections.
Cuomo accused Trump of stoking fear and summed up his comments.
″‘Preachers,’ he said. ‘Preachers, help me in the pulpit because if we lose they are going to be violent. They’re violent people,’” Cuomo paraphrased.
“Yeah, and by the way, a lot of them are,” Cortes said.
“Who’s ‘them’?” Cuomo asked.
“Antifa!” Cortes replied.
Cortes decried violence on both sides.
“Who disagrees with that?” a puzzled Cuomo asked. “If you break the law, you’re a rioter and a thug and a criminal. What does that have to do with what happens if you lose the election?”
That’s when the two tussled as Cortes claimed that Cuomo “equivocated” and justified anti-fascist, or “antifa,” violence as somehow different.
“What?” Cuomo shot back. “I never equivocated on anything! You let your righty mouthpieces twist my words for effect to enhance a bigoted agenda, and now you’re going to sell it, and it’s a mistake on this show.”
“I said very clearly, and people can check my words, ‘You break the law, you’re a criminal and a thug.’ I said don’t create an immoral equation between those who preach hate and those who fight it because not all punches are equal. And I stand by that. But I never endorsed antifa. Don’t sell B.S. to my face. Do it behind my back, where you’re better at it.”
Cortes went on about antifa, but Cuomo wasn’t having it.
“You know if you looked at the words, which unfortunately we both know you didn’t, you read your little buddies at Breitbart … and you came up with: Cuomo didn’t beat down antifa enough,” Cuomo said. “Untrue.”
See the full battle in the clip below.
"I never endorsed Antifa. Don’t sell BS to my face. Do it behind my back when you are better at it." @ChrisCuomo hammers @CortesSteve for suggesting, wrongly, that he had equivocated on Antifa on the show https://t.co/SvldeeDk20 pic.twitter.com/XbUWhVOAe1
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) August 30, 2018