Cuomo Repeatedly Calls Out Newsmax CEO for Defending Conspiracist Tweeted by Trump: ‘He’s a Birther!’
Chris Cuomo repeatedly called out Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy for defending Wayne Allyn Root — whose praise of the president was just Tweeted out by Trump — and attempting to dismiss the many toxic, far right conspiracy theories that Root has propagated: “He’s a Birther!”
Root was quoted President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed on Wednesday, after offering hagiographic praise that likened Trump to “the King of Israel” and “the second coming of God.” Root is a far right radio and Newsmax TV host who has been a longtime promoter of the Birther lie against President Barack Obama as well as other phony claims targeting Muslims and Democrats.
As soon as Ruddy appeared on Cuomo’s primetime show, however, the network chief began to provide rhetorical cover for Root, while simultaneously claiming ignorance of many of Root’s past comments.
“I’ve never heard him described as a conspiracy theorist. This was news. And he didn’t say anything that was over the top,” Ruddy claimed. “He’s not a far-right conspiracy theorist, I wouldn’t say…”
But Cuomo cut him off: “He’s a Birther!”
“Well, there’s people that — I disagree. I believe that Obama was born in the United States,” Ruddy began, attempting to make into a subjective debate the objective fact that Obama was born in the United States. “I don’t think that’s far-right conspiracy theory…”
“No, no, no,” Cuomo said, in cross talk over Ruddy’s distorted take. “What else is it?! If you’re saying Obama wasn’t born in this country and it’s not a far-right conspiracy, what is it?”
Dodging the question, Ruddy then tried to pin the blame for the Birther lie on Obama himself for not releasing his long-form birth certificate fast enough. Cuomo fired back at that hypocrisy, noting Trump’s unprecedented lack of transparency for modern presidents.
“This guy won’t release his taxes, this president, and you’re saying that Obama had some litmus tax of proving his citizenship?'” Cuomo said, stunned.
When Ruddy pointed out that Trump has claimed he would release his taxes when the alleged audit of his taxes was complete, something the president has also walked back, Cuomo pressed him. “What audit? What about proof of the audit” he asked before adding “This is a bad road for you.”
Then Cuomo pivoted to other past falsehoods pushed by Root.
“He also said, your employee…” Cuomo began, but then Ruddy cut in.
“He isn’t an employee, he’s a host on one of the shows,” Ruddy countered, in a disingenuous response that notably didn’t address the ownership of “the shows.”
“Doesn’t that count?” Cuomo pushed, and got a noncommittal “Well…” in response from Ruddy.
“He’s under the banner of Newsmax,” Cuomo reiterated, pinning Ruddy down, who agreed.
Cuomo then pointed out that Root spread a malicious, baseless lie about who perpetrated the Las Vegas mass shooting.
“Well, I’m not here to defend Wayne,” Ruddy claimed.
“You just started out by doing that?!” a clearly perplexed Cuomo said.
“I’m not here to defend every comment Wayne is accused of making,” Ruddy said, again trying to deflect criticism away from one of his TV hosts.
“I’m not accusing him, he said those things,” Cuomo pointed out. “You should know a little bit more about the guys who are under your banner.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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