CNN anchor Chris Cuomo sparred Monday night with Tim Murtaugh, communications director for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Murtaugh made a Monday evening appearance on “Cuomo Prime Time” to discuss the state of the campaign and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett — which took place just before the show — and when the conversation turned to the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, things got a little heated. (RELATED: ‘Blow Up The Entire System’: Don Lemon Is Ready To Scrap The Electoral College, Pack The Court)
Cuomo argued that his brother had asked for help but that it hadn’t come, and Murtaugh pointed to the ventilators, PPE and temporary hospital beds that had been provided when everyone had been concerned with potential shortages.
President Donald Trump did initially push back on Governor Cuomo’s call for thousands of ventilators, saying that there were some in the state’s stockpiles. Cuomo initially predicted that he would exhaust his stored supply and then some, but in April he said, “We’re ok, and we have some in reserve.”
“Your brother predicted a ventilator shortage. He said he needed 40,000 ventilators or people would die. That shortage never materialized,” Murtaugh said, noting that additional beds — via the USNS Comfort and the Javits Center— and supplies had been provided even though many of the extra beds went unused.
“I find it curious, speaking of your brother, you’re going to ask me these self-righteous questions and talk about people taking it seriously,” Murtaugh said, holding up a photo of the Cuomo brothers from a segment about coronavirus testing. “Does this look like a couple of guys who are taking it seriously? You had your brother on for the Cuomo brothers comedy hour, joking about the size of the Q tip you would need for his nose to get a test.”
“I did, it was funny as hell,” Cuomo protested.
“They didn’t need it and thank God they didn’t need it. Tim, listen, you’re not going to flood the zone on this show. Tim, I’m telling you, I’ll cut you off,” Cuomo replied. “You are not going to flood the zone on this show. Now, you took your swing. It missed. Now let’s discuss. That’s the best you got, is that my brother didn’t take COVID seriously? Are you kidding yourself, that I made fun with him at a time of such acute distress —”
Murtaugh was not the only one to criticize the Cuomo brothers for that particular segment. “The View” host Meghan McCain was very critical of the optics during a September segment with “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter.
“I have serious problems with the way Chris Cuomo had a re-occurring primetime sort of comic routine with his brother instead of asking about policies that were literally sending my friend Janice Dean’s older relatives to die in nursing homes,” McCain said.