President Trump ripped CNN’s Chris Cuomo as an "out-of-control animal" on Tuesday in response to a viral video in which the “Cuomo Prime Time” host threatened a man who apparently had called him "Fredo."
A video of the confrontation, which originally surfaced on the YouTube channel "That's The Point with Brandon” and was circulated by Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra, begins with the man telling Cuomo, "I thought that was who you were." The CNN host clearly didn’t appreciate the comment and the clip quickly became a trending topic on social media.
Fredo is a reference to Fredo Corleone, the weak and facile brother in the movie “The Godfather,” who was played by John Cazale.
The CNN host is the younger brother of Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York. The confrontation took place Sunday at a bar on New York's Shelter Island.
“I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts,” Trump tweeted. “Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.”
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
"No, punk-ass b----es from the right call me 'Fredo.' My name is Chris Cuomo. I'm an anchor on CNN," Cuomo responded. "'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?"
After the man sarcastically told him, "You’re a much more reasonable guy in person than you seem to be on television," Cuomo reacted, "If you want to play, we'll f---ing play."
"If you've got something to say about what I do on television, then say it, but you don't have to call me a f---in' insult," Cuomo continued.
"Hey man, listen, I don't want any problems," the man, who appears to be holding the camera from below, told Cuomo.
"Well, you're gonna have a big f---in' problem," Cuomo shot back.
While the president mocked Cuomo over the confrontation, others have defended him. Fox News’ Sean Hannity tweeted that Cuomo has “zero to apologize for.”
“I say good for @ChrisCuomo,” Hannity wrote. “He’s out with his 9-year-old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jack-ss in front of his family.”
In a statement to Fox News, CNN said it fully supported its primetime anchor.
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him,” a CNN spokesperson told Fox News.
The president later sent another tweet directed at Cuomo, who recently hosted a CNN town hall on gun control.
“Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control,” Trump tweeted. “He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”
Trump reiterated his thoughts when speaking to reporters later in the day outside Marine One.
“I think what Chris Cuomo did was horrible. His language was horrible, he looked like a total out-of-control animal."
“I think what Chris Cuomo did was horrible. His language was horrible, he looked like a total out-of-control animal. He lost it, and frankly, I don’t think anybody should defend him because he spews lies every night. I don’t know why anybody would defend him,” Trump said. “Chris Cuomo is out of control. I watched it, I thought it was terrible… you’ve never seen me do that.”
Trump then said that the CNN host was “so out of control” that it’s a good thing he wasn’t holding a weapon.
Cuomo acknowledged that he received some support but said he shouldn’t “add to the ugliness” that he opposes.
“Appreciate all the support but - truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose,” Cuomo tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Over the years, many people – including CNN personalities – have used the term “Fredo” to mock the president’s sons. Donald Trump Jr. took notice of the viral video and offered his thoughts on the situation.
“Hey @ChrisCuomo, take it from me, “Fredo” isn’t the N word for Italians, it just means you’re the dumb brother,” he wrote.
As of Tuesday morning, the viral video had over 3.4 million views – more than three times the audience that Cuomo typically draws. During the month of July, “Cuomo Prime Time” averaged 954,000 nightly viewers.
Cuomo announced Monday afternoon, hours before the video went viral, that "Cuomo Prime Time" was on hiatus this week and would be back on-air Aug. 19.
Ironically, the New York Post unearthed an old video in which Cuomo playfully referred to himself as “Fredo” during a 2010 radio interview.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.