US President Donald Trump has suggested a TV host should be blacklisted from owning a gun after a viral video that shows the CNN anchor unleashing a profanity-laced rant on a stranger.
CNN host Chris Cuomo said he was racially vilified by the stranger, suggesting the man’s decision to call him “Fredo” was “like the N-word” for people of Italian heritage.
“Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant?” Mr Trump later tweeted after the clip quickly spread across the internet.
“Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”
A Red Flag is a gun violence prevention order in the US which removes firearms from those who pose a risk to themselves or others.
In the video, which was posted to YouTube on Monday by conservative media personality Brandon Straka, Cuomo is seen threatening an unidentified man who had called him “Fredo” – a reference to the hapless character Fredo Corleone in the 1972 film “The Godfather”.
The man, who filmed the incident himself, claims he thought “Fredo” was Cuomo’s name.
“No, punk-ass bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo’,” Cuomo viciously responds in the clip.
“My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN... Fredo is from ‘The Godfather.’ He was a weak brother.”
Cuomo, whose elder brother Andrew is governor of New York state, later tweeted an apology, saying: “I should be better than the guys baiting me.”
Trump doubles down on stance
Despite Cuomo’s remorse, Mr Trump’s stance on the incident was clear when speaking with reporters on Tuesday.
“I think that what Chris Cuomo did was horrible,” the president said.
“He looked like a total out-of-control animal. I would not have wanted to see a weapon in his hand.”
Mr Trump was also asked about Cuomo’s defenders, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said his rival talk show host has “zero to apologise for”.
“I don’t know who is defending him,” Mr Trump said.
“Maybe they didn’t see it.”
According to Straka, the man who insulted Cuomo was a Trump supporter.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has used the dismissive nickname for Cuomo in the past.
Cuomo, an Italian-American, described the word as a racial slur comparable to the N-word.
“It’s a f***ing insult to your people... it’s like the N-word for us,” Cuomo said in the clip.
The man told Cuomo he is a “much more reasonable guy than you seem to be on television”, to which the TV journalist erupted.
“You want to play, then we’ll f***ing play, I’ll f***ing ruin your s***. I’ll f***ing throw you down these stairs like a f***ing punk... you’re gonna call me Fredo, take a f***ing swing.”
Several people stepped in between the men and no punches were thrown.
A spokesman for the cable network has since defended Cuomo following the incident.
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur,” CNN vice president of communications Matt Dornic tweeted.
“We completely support him.”
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