Chris Cuomo’s volcanic reaction to a heckler calling him “Fredo” looked like something from the Dr. Phil Show. You can understand Cuomo not wanting to be bothered on a family outing, but the way he hurled threats and expletives at the heckler – in front of his 9-year-old daughter – was over the top.
“Only punk a** bitches from the right call me Fredo,” he said to the stranger. “Fredo is from ‘The Godfather.’ He was a weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aspersion. … It’s a f*cking insult to the people.”
When the heckler didn’t back down, Cuomo lost it.
“I’ll f*cking ruin your sh*t,” he yelled. “I’ll f*cking throw you down these stairs like a f*cking punk.”
In a tweet, Trump wasted no time throwing Cuomo down the stairs: “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”
“Nuts” is exactly what I was thinking. Not only because he acted like a thug but because he compared “Fredo” to the N-word. Agile in the art of finding bigotry where it doesn’t exist, Cuomo quickly figured out a way to contort the word into a slur that “people on the right” use to demean Italians.
“It’s like the N-word for us,” he said.
Us? Italians disagree, but OK.
The link to America’s most notorious racial epithet stood out to Ben Shapiro, too.
“I think the guy was being a jerk to @chriscuomo,” Shapiro tweeted, “and I certainly understand Cuomo getting pissed, but there’s just no way calling someone Fred Corleone is like the n-word. There just isn’t. That’s plain nuts.”
Cuomo’s profanity and thuggish behavior overshadowed the “jerk’s” benign taunt. He’s a media celebrity who works for an international media network, and who knew he was being recorded. The insult uncorked a rage in Cuomo that blinded him from the possibility that, given today’s hostile political atmosphere, this could’ve ended very badly.
Cuomo was also blind to the hypocrisy of it all. For three years every day, he and his colleagues have been ringleaders in twisting nearly every story to prove that our “illegitimate” president is everything from “thin-skinned” to evil incarnate.
As Cuomo melts down at being called Fredo, Trump has had to put up with CNN’s anchors and guests calling him a racist, a misogynist, homophobic, a Russia spy, treasonous, Islamophobic, and a white supremacist who creates a poisonous atmosphere that triggers mass murderers to kill, and white nationalists to hate. It’s all false – a voodoo doll version of Trump that’s not real.
When Antifa and Black Lives Matter viciously taunted Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Pam Bondi, Ted Cruz and others while they were with family and loved ones, the crew at CNN were either silent or outright supportive of the aggressors – never giving Trump or multi-millions of his supporters the benefit of the doubt.
Dr. Phil coined a term that fits Cuomo’s overreaction to his Fredo fracas: Outrageous overshadow. That’s when one person’s behavior is so “noisy, outrageous and over the top,” that the other person gets a free pass for his inappropriate or dysfunctional behavior.
These days, that term not only explains the impact of Cuomo’s reaction, but it explains the incessant overshadowing by Trump-haters since the day he was elected.
When Trump called rat-infested Baltimore “a rat-infested city,” Trump-hating media and pundits stormed the airwaves with thunderclaps that Trump habitually uses the word “infestation” when referring to blacks and “people of color.” It didn’t matter that blacks in Baltimore took Trump’s side. The “infested” tweet has been added to the laundry list of careless accusations used to “prove” that Trump’s a racist, etc., etc., blah, blah.
When a psychopath mowed down unarmed shoppers in an El Paso Walmart, the Trump-haters shamelessly and loudly blamed the president for “creating the environment” that caused the killer to snap. That’s outrageous.
When Trump supporters chanted “Send her back” at a rally after Rep. Ilhan Omar and the “Squad” spent months criticizing America as inherently racist and imperialistic, Trump-haters essentially accused him of telling blacks to go back to Africa. They laugh at the idea that it might’ve just come from patriotism.
When Trump said there were “good people on both sides” in a Charlottesville protest for and against the taking down of historic monuments, his political enemies omitted that he said in the same breath, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists. They should be condemned totally.” For Joe Biden and others to add Charlottesville to the list of “Why Trump’s a Racist” is outrageous when there is clear evidence that “both sides” didn’t include neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
When organized groups created a flood of illegals that thinned out Border Patrol resources, AOC – who voted against replenishing the resources to handle the unprecedented masses – called detention centers “concentration camps” and compared ICE and border agents to Nazis.
Then there’s the outrage of impeachment, without treason, a high crime or misdemeanors, after a two-and-half-year investigation that evidence shows was fomented by a cabal of Trump-haters in high places. That’s historic! It was a soft coup that shifted the tectonic plates of America’s institutions of justice at the highest level to the point where things are feeling wobbly. But it’s not making history because it’s being ignored by people who hate Trump more than they love our institutions. That’s outrageous!
So, I agree, no one wants hecklers taunting people they disagree with in front of their children. But given the ruthlessness and outright violence that’s shamed, silenced and marginalized Trump supporters over their legitimate philosophical differences, Cuomo’s reaction was hypocritical and way over the top in a situation where this unmasked, unarmed heckler might’ve easily just shouted something stupid and walked away.
Cuomo’s overreaction was a horrible example to his children, an embarrassment to his family, and it’s now forever implanted on the ugliest fringe of political history. Worse for Cuomo and CNN, every time we see him anchoring, we’ll think of Fredo.