CNN host Chris Cuomo was the victim of a setup, though he still decided to get into a verbal altercation instead of walking away, according to Juan Williams.
Cuomo, the younger brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was right to be upset at being called "Fredo" -- a reference to the "weak" Corleone brother in "The Godfather," Williams claimed Tuesday on "The Five."
"I'm taken by the idea that this was recorded. It indicates to me that this was a setup. This guy set up Chris Cuomo and Chris Cuomo fell for the bait."
In a video posted to YouTube, Cuomo became enraged at a man at a Shelter Island, N.Y., venue and responded with a string of expletives.
"No, punk-ass b----es from the right call me 'Fredo.' My name is Chris Cuomo. I'm an anchor on CNN," he said.
"'Fredo' was from 'The Godfather.' He was a weak brother and they use that as an Italian slur — are any of you Italian?... It's a f---ing insult to your people. It's an insult to your f--kin' people. It's like the N-word for us. Is that a cool f---ing thing?"
On "The Five," Williams said the man's rhetoric was intended to "provoke" the younger Cuomo.
"That's why you see so many people standing up for Chris Cuomo -- including people on this channel."
He noted that President Trump found Cuomo's actions ripe for criticism.
The president condemned the CNN host's comments, saying his coarse language was "horrible."
"He looked like a total out-of-control animal. He lost it," the Republican said as he departed Morristown, N.J., earlier Tuesday for an event in western Pennsylvania.