CNN’s top-rated host, Chris Cuomo, said on Tuesday night that it “sure as hell isn’t true” that he approved the months-long deadly riots associated with Black Lives Matter and Antifa, which swept the nation after the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, Chris Cuomo’s record says something much different.
What He’s Saying Now: On the July 6 episode of “Cuomo Prime Time,” Chris Cuomo joined his fellow CNN hosts in focusing on the six-month anniversary of the Capitol riot. Cuomo said that Republicans had downplayed the importance of the D.C. riot, in part, because they believe it pales in comparison to the BLM riots. Cuomo said on January 6 there were:
[a]round 140 officers assaulted, some very badly. This is the truth. Period! It is no less the truth because Black Lives Matter supporters committed acts of violence, too. Even if you want to believe that the media was okay with what they did — which sure as hell isn’t true on this show — but even if you want to say they were, it doesn’t change this.
Cuomo went on to label the D.C. riot the most consequential civil disturbance in U.S. history. “What happened on January 6th has no equal in terms of what and who was targeted, and how,” he said.
What should we make of Cuomo’s assertion that his show somehow opposed the international series of rolling riots associated with BLM and Antifa, which included acts of arson, looting, assaulting police, and murder — riots that caused billions of dollars of property damage and left dozens of people dead?
What He Said Then: Chris Cuomo has repeatedly apologized for the rioters’ tactics, including the use of violence, often citing their moral purity as a justifying or mitigating factor.
On June 2, 2020, Cuomo said that “too many see the protests as the problem. No, the problem is what forced your fellow citizens to take to the streets — persistent and poisonous inequities and injustice.”
Then Cuomo dared the critics of BLM-related violence, “Please, show me where it says protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.”
“Show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful?” – Chris Cuomo, June 2 2020
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 7, 2021
The First Amendment guarantees a robust right to free speech, including the right to hold mass rallies — and that right is explicitly predicated on the idea that those rallies must be peaceful. The Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Emphasis added.) There is no right to riot.
Cuomo and fellow CNN host Don Lemon made an abrupt reversal on the topic as the 2020 presidential election neared. He and Lemon spoke about the Kenosha, Wisconsin, riot last summer, noting that voter anger had built against these waves of lawlessness just 68 days before the election.
“The rioting has to stop,” Lemon told Cuomo on August 25. “Chris, as you know and I know, it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing right now that is sticking.”
CNN’s Don Lemon says that the riots across the country have to stop because it might hurt the Democrats’ chances in November:
“It’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in the focus groups.”pic.twitter.com/s6lea8slwr
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 26, 2020
After the election, the two hosts returned to form. When former Trump official Ken Cuccinelli said this January 12 that riots had swept the nation for months, Cuomo objected that BLM’s intentions had to be taken into consideration. “Overturning the election is different than being pissed off about being shot by cops,” Cuomo said. (CNN’s official transcript of the episode does not include Cuomo’s statement.)
During the hand-off that night, Lemon thanked Cuomo for making the moral distinction between forms of politically motivated mob violence. “One is built on people, on racial justice, on criminal justice, right? On reform, on police not beating up — or police treating people of color differently than they do whites, okay?” said Lemon to an approving Cuomo.
What’s the Verdict? If Cuomo had a deep-seated moral objection to BLM/Antifa rioting, he largely kept it to himself during the riots, when his words may (or may not) have made a difference.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.