CNN host Chris Cuomo asked Thursday what top Republicans "were afraid of" in not coming on CNN to discuss gun violence in the wake of Wednesday's shooting at a south Florida high school, adding that people have "ill-conceived notions" about their Second Amendment rights.
On multiple occasions, CNN flashed a graphic with the faces of Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R.), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R.), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R.), pointing out they had appeared on "Fox & Friends" but were "unwilling" to go on CNN.
Recent Stories in Issues
"They declined. We say, ‘Let's get after it.' It's not a slogan," Cuomo said. "It's an approach. You have to take these issues on. You've to ask the tough questions. You must be held accountable."
Cuomo criticized Rubio in particular for calling the tragedy "inexplicable." Cuomo then interviewed former Rep. David Jolly (R., Fla.), who has recommended voting in Democrats to enact gun control measures.
"People will come out, Jolly, and they will vote on their Second Amendment rights or their ill-conceived notions of what that freedom is about and why it's important to them in today's society," Cuomo said.
Cuomo attacked the three Republicans for not appearing on CNN, while praising Jolly for doing so.
"You're on the right side of this argument," he declared.
"They're all on Fox, the mothership, because they don't want to be asked about this. What are they afraid of? Tell me," Cuomo said.
Jolly called them "weak-kneed ideologues" who are "hiding" from the American people.
Jolly did have strong words for Democrats, who he accused of killing a compromise gun bill in 2016 after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting because they did not want Jolly—locked in a tight battle to hold his House seat at the time—to lead on the issue.
"Party over people. That's BS, Jolly," Cuomo said, adding he would check Jolly's version of events to see if it was true.
"I don't know what you're afraid of," Cuomo said to the camera. "Governor Scott, we know that you're a fighter. We know that you believe passionately. Senator Rubio, same thing. Senator Cruz, it's your hallmark. You're the great debater … Why won't you discuss how we stop the school shootings? It's a simple question people should insist you answer."