Cuomo Compares MAGA Hat to Shirts Reading ‘I Hate Black People’

• February 1, 2019 9:22 am


CNN host Chris Cuomo on Thursday compared the red, pro-Trump "Make America Great Again" hats to theoretical shirts reading "I Hate Black People."

"That's how people like [chef J. Kenji López-Alt] see the MAGA hat," Cuomo said during a discussion with Don Lemon, who hosts the show after him.

The pair briefly discussed the story a San Francisco chef known as Kenji who vowed he will not serve anyone wearing a MAGA hat. "It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate," said Kenji, the chef-partner of Wursthall in San Mateo, in a now-deleted tweet.

Cuomo asked Lemon how he viewed the situation, prompting Lemon to say he believes people should be able to wear whatever they want.

"I don't like banning. I don't like boycotting. I don't like people getting fired for making honest mistakes, but your clothing tells a story. And if you are putting certain symbols in your home or in front of your house, things tell stories, and you should be aware of the entire story they tell, not just the little part of it that you want to be told," Lemon said.

Cuomo launched into a monologue about whether a private company has the right to ban someone based on their MAGA hat. He brought up the "baker with the cake" Supreme Court case, saying it was about refusing a group of people service that should have been a "protected class." The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker in Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs, in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The ruling held the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs.

Cuomo added that unless Trump supporters can argue they should be a protected class, they don't have much of an argument, in his view.

"Here's my problem on this issue. Ordinarily I'd go down the line of ‘be bigger than that,' but I don't want to fold to the trap of underselling the significance of the trigger of the expression to people," Cuomo said. "I think the more appropriate analogy to say is if people were wearing shirts that said, ‘I hate black people.' Would he be okay to say, ‘Don't come into my place with that.' And I think most people would be like ‘yeah.'"

"That's how people like him see the MAGA hat, so does that make it okay? I think that's the right question," Cuomo said.

"Just because you have the right, does it mean that you should?" Lemon asked.

"No, absolutely not. Not in all places," Cuomo responded.

Lemon later insisted that if Trump supporters wear the MAGA hat, then they must be willing to own everything associated with Trump, starting from the beginning of his campaign or earlier, noting the history of Trump can't be erased from the story of the hat.

This isn't the first time Cuomo's show has been used to attack the pro-Trump hat. Last week, CNN commentator Angela Rye said she was "triggered" by the hats.

"Forget Donald Trump for a moment, and just think about that symbol of that red hat," she said. "When I see the Make America Great Again hat now, Chris, I am triggered. I'm so triggered." She later added that seeing the hat was as "triggering" as seeing a KKK hood.