Cuomo Annoyed Iowans Cheered Trump for Saying He Didn't Want Poor People Running Economy

June 22, 2017

CNN host Chris Cuomo expressed indignation Thursday at President Donald Trump's remark that he did not want "a poor person" in economic Cabinet positions, saying he could not believe Trump's supporters would applaud such a line.

Cuomo had his "New Day" producer play the clip of "apparently blue-collar people" in Iowa on Wednesday cheering Trump over the line referring to his wealthy Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Trump said he loved all people, "rich or poor," but in certain positions, "I just don't want a poor person."

Cuomo remarked that Trump's administration was full of more rich people than the days of men wearing white wigs.

"I guess, if you are not rich, you can't understand economics," he said. "You can't be smart enough to make a difference if you're poor, because that's probably why you're poor, right? Isn't that the point he's making?"

"That's exactly the point he's making," Daily Beast editor John Avlon said.

Cuomo mimicked Iowans clapping at what he perceived to be an insult to them.

Fellow host Alisyn Camerota demurred, though, saying it was more about praising the wealthy for their accomplishments rather than putting down those in poverty.

"To Donald Trump, you are successful if you are a billionaire," she said.

Cuomo said Trump had made a "distinction of competency" by placing more of the rich in the Cabinet. Avlon said it was "troubling" to see such rhetoric resonate in Trump's populist base.

"That hothouse atmosphere of celebrity around him is so strong and the tribalism in conservative populism is so strong that people are actually not using the normal civic moral filter they would," Avlon said.

Cuomo added it was wrong to demonize wealth.

"But he's supposed to drain the swamp. He's supposed to go after Wall Street," Cuomo said.