CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and communications director for the Trump campaign Tim Murtaugh got into an on-air feud Monday night as the pair discussed the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 12-minute interview quickly fell into a feud when Cuomo began discussing the recent increase in COVID cases in the US.
Murtaugh defended his boss, saying President Trump had tackled the coronavirus “ head-on, ” noting the early travel ban in China and the recent rapid progress made in therapeutics and vaccine development.
But then things got personal when Murtaugh denounced Cuomo’s brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Tim Murtaugh, right, were involved in a fiery interview on CNN Monday night, where the Trump campaign spokesman accused Cuomo of not taking the pandemic seriously.
“I gave you the opportunity to put forward your arguments … We let people check the facts themselves,” @ChrisCuomo says to Trump 2020 campaign communication. director Tim Murtaugh adds: “In seven days, we’ll see if people think [Trump] has done the right job in this pandemic. ” pic.twitter.com/BJYZya88TO
– Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) October 27, 2020
He outlined how the governor had praised the Trump administration for providing New York state with everything they needed. But Cuomo quickly defended his brother’s position.
“Your own brother, the governor of New York, said every time he turned to the administration, the federal government was there with everything,” Murtaugh said.
He didn’t say that. And that didn’t happen, ”Cuomo replied.
‘No. He said, “I went to the federal government. They helped me with things. They didn’t help with everything. They still don’t help,” Cuomo claimed.
Murtaugh held up a photo of Chris Cuomo and a giant Q-tip that was taken from an episode of the show in May when he mocked his governor brother, Andrew, about the size of his nose
‘Your brother predicted a shortage of fans. He said he needed 40,000 fans or people would die. That deficit never materialized… ”Murtaugh noted,“ Because the president called in the private sector and government to make the equipment, PPE, jackets, gloves, and fans we needed. ‘
Murtaugh then accused Cuomo of appearing ‘self-righteous’ and even accused him of not taking the situation seriously by holding up a photo from a moment earlier in the year when Cuomo joked with his brother of the Governor that he was a giant Q- Tip would need to wipe his nasal passages for coronavirus.
“Does this look like some guys taking it seriously?” Murtaugh asked for the printout from the May broadcast to be held up.
“You had your brother with you for the Cuomo Brothers Comedy Hour, joking about the size of Q-Tip you’d need in front of him to take the test,” he continued.
‘Yes I did that. It was funny, ”Cuomo said in defense.
CNN presenter Chris Cuomo and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo were knocked down in May for their light-hearted jokes about coronavirus testing during an episode of Cuomo Prime Time
In the episode, Chris joked about the size of Andrew’s nose by pulling out a nose swab the size of a baseball bat and said that was what the governor had to use to get tested for coronavirus
‘Tim, I’m telling you. I’ll cut you off. You’re not going to flood the zone on this show, ‘Cuomo warned him.
‘Now you’ve made your move. It missed. So let’s discuss it now. Is that all you got? That my brother didn’t take Covid seriously? Are you kidding yourself? That I joked with him at a time of such acute need? ‘ he asked.
Cuomo then tried to push back Murtaugh by accusing the communications director of not talking about the president’s response and instead focusing on Governor Cuomo for “coming from a weak spot.”
The tit-for-tit continued as Murtaugh went on to accuse CNN of using the coronavirus as a “ political weapon, ” adding that Cuomo had advocated for “ a complete and total shutdown. ” Cuomo denied the claim.
“This is not an interview, Chris. This is a lecture, ”Murtaugh replied.
The Q-tip moment was brought up by Tim Murtaugh as an example of Chris Cuomo not taking the virus seriously, despite suffering from it himself
Cuomo immediately retorted, “I’m not trying to teach. I’m trying to disprove what you put there. “You’re the one who taught me the picture of my brother and I, which was really funny at a time when our country was hurting.”
“I didn’t think it was that funny,” Murtaugh replied.
“Oh, I don’t know if you can judge humor, because you think it’s funny what the president says at these meetings,” Cuomo said at the time.
“I’m about a president sending the right message and giving states what they need to fight a pandemic,” said Cuomo.
But the personal attacks resumed when Murtaugh asked if Cuomo had literally followed coronavirus guidelines.
“Why have you been reprimanded by your own apartment building?” Murtaugh was referring to an incident where Cuomo was admonished for not wearing a mask around his New York City apartment building.
“Because I did the wrong thing,” said Cuomo, looking nervous for the first time. “Why doesn’t the president adjust his reporting?” he responded quickly.
Murtaugh went ahead with the attack, asking about a different time from earlier in the year when Cuomo had been spotted on a bicycle on Long Island and confronted a cyclist who asked why he hadn’t been quarantined during his recovery from the virus or according to the guidelines for social distance.
Cuomo denied ever breaking quarantine.
The interview lasted 13 minutes and both parties shouted and talked over each other
Everyone knows you broke it! Murtaugh objected.
“You came home and acted like you came out of your basement like Lazarus, even though you had already broken the quarantine when you were Covid positive,” Murtaugh continued.
“If you want to make fun of my getting sick, you can,” said Cuomo. You want me to be the story, you want my brother to be the story, because you can’t handle Trump. The numbers would disappear! ‘
The interview went on for a few more minutes as both parties shouted and talked about each other.
Finally, it was time to take a break from advertising and the interview ended with Cuomo looking ahead to election day.
‘I respect your efforts because that’s the game. You want to go [New York Governor] Andrew, his legacy will stand for what it was and his actions will be judged at the polls, ”Cuomo said.
“I will make every mistake I make because I am not this president and I have no power. I’ll tell you something, brother, in seven days we’ll see if people think he did the right thing in this pandemic. ‘
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