CNN anchor Chris Cuomo took a shot at longtime morning competitor Joe Scarborough Thursday, accusing the Morning Joe host of having his "head way up Donald Trump's ass" during the 2016 primary season.
"We beat Morning Joe's ass 2.5 of the seasons that I was there," Cuomo told The Hollywood Reporter. "We beat [Joe Scarborough] even though he had his head way up Donald Trump's ass through the campaign and kept having him on the show."
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Before moving to his current 9 p.m. ET slot opposite Fox's Sean Hannity and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Cuomo co-hosted New Day on CNN from 2013 to 2018, which airs in the same three-hour morning block as MSNBC's flagship morning show hosted by Scarborough and his now-wife Mika Brzezinski.
The pair bristled at accusations they were too friendly with Trump when he first entered the Republican primary contest in June of 2015, saying they simply were more bullish on his chances than other media figures and pundits.
"People have the audacity to ask are we too close to Donald Trump. The answer is, ‘No, we're not,'" Scarborough said in 2016.
CNN reported at the time NBC insiders were concerned about their chumminess, however. Rolling Stone sneered they became Trump's "lapdogs," referring to a town hall they hosted where a hot mic caught the trio speaking like old friends during a commercial break.
Scarborough offered Trump debate advice and said he trusted him more than a "bunch of kids" in Washington to fix the economy.
The tone of their coverage was notably different then compared to since he won the Republican nomination and then took office. They have become two of his fiercest critics and have repeatedly questioned his mental fitness for office.
Morning Joe surged in the ratings in 2018, growing its total viewership by 12 percent for its best numbers in the show's history. New Day lagged, particularly after Cuomo departed the program in June for his new show, Cuomo Primetime.
While New Day and Morning Joe have celebrated ratings wins over the other over the past six years, they have always lagged behind Fox & Friends, the conservative-leaning Fox News Channel morning program that's known to be a favorite of Trump's.