“I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Aug. 13.
Cuomo, 49, the younger brother of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, took offense to being called “Fredo” at a recent event in a video released on Aug. 12.
The footage, surreptitiously filmed, shows a man approach Cuomo and call him the alleged slur.
The man says he thought Cuomo was “Fredo,” leading the anchor to tell him: “Punk [expletives] from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN.”
“Fredo is from the Godfather. He was that weak brother, and they use it as an Italian aspersion,” Cuomo, the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, continues. “Are any of you Italian? It’s a [expletive] insult to your people. It’s like the N-word for us.”
The man replies, saying he thought Cuomo’s name was Fredo, leading to Cuomo threatening him.
Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. boosted the video, wondering if CNN would comment. CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic responded, claiming “Fredo” was an “ethnic slur.”
CNN employees have used the word “Fredo” to refer to Trump Jr. and others in years past, as has The New York Times and other news organizations.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) August 12, 2019
Ana Navarro called Trump Jr “Fredo” in 2018 and host Jake Tapper has used the alleged slur on Twitter.
Cuomo has not responded publicly to the video but an assistant told his followers on Twitter early Monday that he would be on vacation and wouldn’t be back on air until Aug. 19.
Trump has repeatedly belittled CNN—which is openly against the president and rarely reports on him positively—for its low ratings. CNN has been losing to rivals Fox News and MSNBC for years. Cuomo’s show, though, is often the most popular on the network.
Among those defending Cuomo was Fox’s Sean Hannity, who wrote: “I say good for @ChrisCuomo He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family. Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.”
Jesse Kelly, a conservative radio host, added: “UNPOPULAR OPINION: Don’t approach a man in public and start chirping at him, film it, then whine when you get put in your place.”
“@ChrisCuomo did nothing wrong here. Leave people alone and mind your own business,” he wrote.
Others, though, said that Cuomo was wrong to berate the man and threaten to fight him.
“Remember when @ChrisCuomo said that Nick Sandmann was wrong for how he acted when Nathan Phillips was beating a drum in his face? No bueno, Fredo!” wrote Austen Fletcher, a videographer.