Chris Cuomo and Unvaccinated GOP Rep. Byron Donalds Spar Over Covid Vaccine: ‘You Don’t Get to Cut Me Off, It’s My Show’


Chris Cuomo and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) argued on Monday about the Covid-19 vaccine amid rising cases of the virus across the country, including Donalds’ state of Florida. Earlier in the show, Cuomo pleaded with unvaccinated viewers to get vaccinated.

“Part of the reason you’re seeing what you’re seeing in Florida,” Cuomo said to Donalds, “is because of vaccine hesitancy, and an aspect of vaccine hesitancy is politics especially in your state. ‘Don’t Fauci Florida.’ We all know what that was about. Do you feel responsible for spreading a message where, ‘I’m not going to take it because I don’t care what Biden wants.'”

Donalds took exception to that characterization, saying, “Well, the first thing is my message was never about Joe Biden. The message is about me and my own personal health. I’m 42 years old. I’ve had Covid already.”

Cuomo interrupted, “I want to read your words.”

“Hold on,” said Donalds. “I didn’t cut you off, don’t cut me off.”

“Byron, you don’t get to cut me off,” said the host. “It’s my show.”

“Go ahead,” said Donalds. “You cut me off while I’m trying to continue.”

Cuomo then quoted Donalds as saying, “It has nothing to do with what Joe Biden wants.”

“Funny,” said Cuomo. “I never brought him up when I was deciding whether or not to get vaccinated. Why did you?”

“A reporter asked me on a news show and I said it has nothing to do with what he wants,” said Donalds. “I chose not to get vaccinated because I chose not to get vaccinated. I already had Covid-19 once. I’m 42 years old, I’m in very good health, I actually get check-ups regularly and do those things. That is a personal decision for myself.”

The congressman also said if Americans want to be protected from Covid-19, “Go get the vaccine. I fully promote you doing that.”

But he said people should not be forced to get it.

“But see, that’s the thing,” said Cuomo. “It’s a false choice. This isn’t about ‘You won’t force me.'”

“It’s not a false choice,” Donalds protested.

“Yes it is. It is.”

“It is the accurate choice, Chris. It’s not false.”

“Nobody is forcing anybody. You’re trying to push it to where people have to be forced and you’re seeing it as a position of strength and advantage,” Cuomo said.

“Oh no. You’re the one that’s pushing it. Not me,” Donalds responded.

Despite the contentious nature of the interview, the two ended on an amicable note.

“Listen, brother. I tell you the same thing every time I talk to you. I wish you well and I respect you as a leader. I hope you don’t get sick again and I hope your family does not as well,” Cuomo said.

Donalds said he’d come on the show any time and told Cuomo, “Be safe.”

Watch above via CNN.

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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.