FLASHBACK: Cuomo Called Michael Grimm’s Physical Threat of Reporter a ‘Bizarre Outburst’

Cuomo threatened to throw troll who called him 'Fredo' down a flight of stairs

• August 13, 2019 5:02 pm


CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, under fire for threatening to throw a man down a staircase after being insulted in public, referred to a congressman's threat of a reporter in 2014 as a "bizarre outburst" and the "worst" behavior from a lawmaker.

Then the host of the morning show New Day, Cuomo criticized the conduct of then-Rep. Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.) when the embattled lawmaker threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a "f—ing balcony" in the Capitol and break him "in half like a boy."

Cuomo interviewed Scotto on Jan. 29, 2014, the day after the strange incident, playing the clip of the threat and calling it "almost impossible to believe." Grimm was angry over Scotto's question about an investigation into his campaign's financing. He eventually apologized, but his reputation was damaged by his behavior.

Scotto said he didn't take Grimm's threat personally, dismissing it as going with "the territory" of being a New York City reporter. Cuomo asked Scotto if he was surprised by Grimm's lack of discretion, threatening him in front of a camera.

"It was surprising to me," Scotto said, calling it "PR 101" to not do that on a hot mic.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that," Cuomo said. "It'll be interesting to see if the congressman follows up with a better apology."

Cuomo called it a "bizarre outburst" by Grimm while previewing a replay of his interview with Scotto later that morning. Cuomo praised Scotto for his composure during the situation, calling it unusual even in the "ugly" game of politics.

On Twitter, Cuomo said it was an example of the "worst" sort of behavior from a lawmaker and the "best" from a reporter. He posted a photo of him and CNN anchor John King making light of the incident.

A clip of Cuomo angrily responding to a stranger calling him "Fredo"—a reference to the weakling Corleone brother in The Godfather—went viral on Monday. Cuomo, who was out with his family, threatened to throw the troll who called him the name down a flight of stairs, and he declared it a slur on par with the "n-word" for Italian-Americans, saying "punk-ass b—ches on the right" call him that.

"Don't f—ing insult me like that," Cuomo said, telling the man to own his insult. "I'll f—ing ruin your s—t. I'll f—ing throw you down these stairs like a f—ing punk."

A CNN spokesman backed Cuomo's claim that "Fredo" is a slur, although the term has been used by numerous figures on the network to disparage men viewed as weak or unintelligent.

He expressed regret on Twitter, saying he "should be better than the guys baiting me."

"There is a lesson: No need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose," Cuomo wrote.

Cuomo is the younger brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) and the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D.), a liberal icon who gave a memorable address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

Published under: Chris Cuomo, CNN, Media, Video