CNN's Chris Cuomo argued on Monday night that the violence-embracing far-left group Antifa was "a good cause," and was immediately met by pushback from the two contributors who he had on for the segment.
"You can talk about Antifa, I've watched them in streets protesting in different situations, OK?" Cuomo said. "There are certainly aspects of them that are true to a cause, that is a good cause, they want social justice, they want whatever they want in that context."
"Not Antifa," CNN's Rob Astorino responded. "Antifa's [inaudible]."
"Chris, Antifa is not a good cause," CNN's Steve Cortes fired back. "Antifa does not have good aims, Antifa wants power, wants political power, taken through force. That's what Antifa is all about."
This is not the first time that Cuomo has defended the violent far-left group; he also did so in August 2018.
"Two wrongs and what is right," said last year. "It's been one year since Heather Heyer was killed for standing up to hate, and our thoughts still go to her family."
"Peppered in the crowd were members of Antifa, or anti-fascists," Cuomo continued. "They covered their faces, confronted police and berated journalists and that was wrong. Now, you've been hearing it. There's a lot of what-aboutism and spin going on. And it's kind of sickening to me. So, let's all agree on some common understandings. A protester uses their voice, song, slang, slurs, there's a huge range, but it is talk."
"But I argue to you tonight, all punches are not equal morally. In the eyes of the law, yes," Cuomo said. "But in the eyes of good and evil, here's the argument: if you're a punk that comes to start trouble in a mask and hurt people, you're not about any virtuous cause. You're just somebody who's going to be held to the standard of doing something wrong."
"But when someone comes to call out bigots and it gets hot, even physical, are they equally wrong as the bigot they are fighting? I argue, no. Fighting against hate matters," Cuomo continued. "Now, how you fight matters too. There's no question about that. But drawing a moral equivalency between those espousing hate and those fighting it because they both resort to violence emboldens hate, legitimizes hateful belief and elevates what should be stamped out."
"But fighting hate is right. And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right. Think about: civil rights activist, were they the same morally as the bigots, as the racist with whom they exchanged blows," Cuomo stated. "Are people who go to war against an evil regime on the same moral ground as those they seek to stop from oppressing the weak?"
"That's why people who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots, even if they do resort to the same petty violence. The law will take care of that," Cuomo concluded. "How you disagree matters. We should be our best. But I am arguing that Trump was wrong to create a moral equivalency between bigots and those who oppose them, making them equal wrongs."