CNN’s Chris Cuomo outed by WaPo in audio defends advising brother: ‘I am family first, job second’

CNN host Chris Cuomo apologized at the start of his show Thursday following reports that he advised his brother, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been charged with sexual harassment by several women.

The on-air mea culpa came on the heels of a Washington Post report noting that the younger CNN host advised his brother on how to respond to the plethora of allegations that included telling his governor brother he should not resign.

“Cuomo, one of the network’s top stars, joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor’s top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers, according to the people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private sessions,” the Post reported Thursday.

“The behind-the-scenes strategy … cuts against the widely accepted norm in journalism that those reporting the news should not be involved in politics,” the report added.

(Video: CNN)

The Post also reported that the younger Cuomo urged his brother to remain “defiant” in the face of the mounting allegations and often used the phrase “cancel culture” as the reason why he should “hold firm in the face of allegations” and refuse to step down.

The CNN host quickly acknowledged the reports as he opened his show and explained that he did, indeed, offer advice.

“Remember I told you back in the beginning of March I can’t cover my brother’s troubles, it wouldn’t be fair,” he began. “You got it then and I appreciate you understanding. Now, today there are stories out there about me offering my brother advice. Of course, I do. This is no revelation. I have said it publicly and I certainly have never hidden it.”

He went on to say that he can be “objective about just about any topic” except for family.

“Like you, I bet, my family means everything to me. And I am fiercely loyal to them. I am family first, job second,” he added.

Describing his situation as “a unique challenge,” he went on to say that he also has “a unique responsibility to balance those roles.” As the elder Cuomo’s situation “became turbulent,” Chris Cuomo said he was “looped into calls with other friends of his and advisers, that did include some of his staff.”

Cuomo said he understood how his actions presented a problem for his network and vowed that it wouldn’t happen in the future. He also said his actions were a “a mistake, because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot.”

After apologizing, he said that he “never tried to influence this network’s coverage of my brother,” and had actually been “walled off from it.”

“This is a unique and difficult situation, and that’s okay,” Cuomo concluded. “I know where the line is. I can respect it and still be there for my family, which I must. I have to do that. I love my brother, I love my family, I love my job. And I love and respect my colleagues here at CNN. And again, to them I am truly sorry…I want this to be said in public to you who give me the opportunity and to my colleagues who make me better at what I do.”

During his show Thursday evening, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed the controversy with New York City Councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican, both of whom chided the Cuomo brothers for double standards when it comes to sexual harassment.

(Video: Fox News)

“I would be a lot happier if everyone could just, you know, drop the self-righteousness. If Chris Cuomo just said, ‘Look, yeah. I’m exactly what I look like, I’m a steroid guy, thug and it’s my brother, of course, I’m going to give him advice,'” Carlson said after playing previously aired footage of the CNN host discussing sexual harassment allegations against him with former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

“You know what I mean? Rather than running around doing the holier-than-thou thing all the time. That’s what I find unbearable,” Carlson added.

“Why this should raise red flags is that [Chris Cuomo] has admitted to being part of the governor’s strategy session,” Borelli responded, noting that the actual “strategy” appears to be attempts to shame some of the governor’s accusers and “cover up his own behavior.”

“This is a far cry from the guy who told us, ‘Oh, we have to believe all women,'” Borelli continued. “He chided us for not believing Dr. Blasey Ford [Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s primary accuser].”

Several people, including journalists, took Chris Cuomo to task on social media.

“Cool. Resign then,” Spectator USA contributor Stephen Miller wrote in reaction to Cuomo’s admission.

“You know how it is with Fredo,” talk radio host and fellow Spectator contributor Ross Kaminsky added, a reference to a nickname given to Cuomo by the late Rush Limbaugh, which came from the “Godfather” mafia movies. “Hard to get out of the family business alive.”

Jon Dougherty

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