Speaking on CNN Tuesday night, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo used the opportunity of President Trump condemning anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to launch his own attack on Trump, snapping that one possible reason Trump targeted Omar was because she is Muslim and wears a hijab.
Cuomo began his monologue by what sounded like a high-minded appeal, saying, “Is bigotry wrong or not? Is intolerance wrong or not? If the answer is yes, then call it all out when it comes from elected leaders. Call them to account. Period. Always. Amen.”
Then, the tilt toward attacking Trump: “But we can’t do this. And when I say we, no one stands out more than our president.”
Cuomo then played a clip of President Trump condemning Omar for her anti-Semitism, calling for her to resign from Congress or step down from her spot on the Foreign Affairs committee.
Cuomo continued, “He wants Congresswoman Omar to resign for playing up ugly stereotypes about Jews, saying they use money to buy political sway, making the point more than once, by the way. The Left and many in the media called it a trope; it wasn’t; it was a direct attack; it was bigoted, and she was right to apologize.”
Cuomo did not mention that Omar’s supposed “unequivocal apology” was anything but unequivocal.
He continued, “Should the Dems do more? Legit question. They certainly wanted more done when it was Steve King, and now there’s this 'which is worse, King or Omar?' feudal feud. Omar’s new, but King’s been spouting this for years; but she targeted the Jews; he targeted everyone who’s not white. Forget the comparisons. That’s more about political advantage than setting a realistic standard. Be honest. Call it all out. Ask for the same consequences for similar actions; don’t go light on your own and hard on others, that’s one of the reasons that so many think so little of politicians, especially in D.C."
Then Cuomo got to the point: "Now to the president: He’s calling for Omar to get out and that is interesting, because he seemed to say something very similar to what Omar said when addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2015." Cuomo then played two clips that were spliced together by CNN, in which Trump stated: “You’re not going to support you because I don’t want your money … you want to control your own politicians, that’s fine.”
Here was the actual sequence of events from 2015, without the huge cut CNN made in the middle. Trump had been stating that politicians would make promises of cutting the budget, but then would arrive in Washington, D.C., become awed by their surroundings, and lose courage to do what their constituents wanted them to do. He continued by saying that money was often given by people to control politicians, referencing Jeb Bush:
That won’t happen with me. So again, you’re not going to support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel, and I’ll be that. And I know why you’re not going to support me; you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy? No, it’s true. If I wanted your money I think I’d have a damn good chance and I think I’d get more money than anybody else. You know the money I have turned down? This has not been my life, turning down money. Guys want to give me millions; I would have made poor Jeb Bush, I mean this poor guy with this low energy; it’s sad. No, it’s sad. I came up with that term it became so defining, it’s like having it on his forehead, “I am low-“ No, its sad. He’s raised $125 million dollars which means he’s controlled totally. Totally controlled. By the people who gave him the money. That’s why you don’t want to give me money, but that’s okay. You want to control your own politician. That’s fine. Good.
Why is it different? Is it because Omar is Muslim? And wears a hijab? I hear a lot of that, and it’s not right, especially when you remember that this president has been down the road of intolerance more than most. Remember this? Cuomo then played a clip of Trump saying at a rally:
It’s called a nationalist. And I say, “Really? We’re not supposed to use that word? You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay?”
Remember that? He acknowledged that the word is stained, and he used it anyway. All right, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the president now thinks bigotry is not to be tolerated. That’s why he moved on Omar. So where was he on Steve King? Not a damn word about years of ugly, exclusionary, divisive talk. His whole party moved on King — all of Congress — and this president said nothing … Why not? Only two choices. One: he agrees with King. And there is a case for that. Trump did visit with King early on; he did adopt his pet issue of border security, he does discuss it the same way, and King describes himself the same way the president does.
Cuomo then played a clip of King calling himself an “American nationalist.” Cuomo continued, “Nationalism is not patriotism. They should not be conflated and he knows it. So does the president. But he should.”
He continued, “The second choice: the president saw no upside. The media, the Left, they’d come after him no matter what he said, so he just stayed quiet. That’s what several of his people have told me since that time. I would buy it if he didn’t have the history he does and if he’d ever showed the ability to stay silent when it matters. He championed birtherism; it was racist and untrue that President Obama was from somewhere else. We know what that was about; so did the president.”
Cuomo referenced Trump calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” then did his own share of surmising: “So when it comes to Omar, the president’s selective outrage is transparent.”