‘You Sound Like An Idiot’: Chris Cuomo Battles Restaurant Owner Over Vaccines


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CNN’s Chris Cuomo battled it out Wednesday against a California restaurant owner who said he is requiring proof customers are unvaccinated in order to be served.

Tony Roman owns Basilico’s Paste e Vino in Huntington Beach and is requiring diners to prove they have not been vaccinated. “We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity,” reads a sign posted on the windows of the establishment.

The restaurant also requires customers to take their masks off. However, an employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually asking for proof of vaccination status.

Roman defended his restaurant’s decision to seemingly ban vaccinated patrons during an appearance on “Cuomo Prime Time.”

“Can you give me some hope that you really don’t want people to not get vaccinated so they can come to your restaurant,” Cuomo asked Roman, to which the restaurant owner responded, “That’s a good question. You’re a smart guy. It’s an IQ test. Like I say to people when they ask me, if they’re so blinded with their rage and their hate, I tell them, you know what, if you don’t understand it, maybe we should put up a sign that says you’re too stupid to come into the restaurant. It’s very simple. I think you figured it out. Am I right?”

“I don’t even know what you’re saying right now,” Cuomo said.

After some back and forth, Roman, who is not vaccinated, explained his restaurant’s decision is a “pro-freedom stand” and not an “anti-vaccine stand.”

“What is the difference when you are ignoring the science that suggests that if you get vaccinated you protect yourself, you protect the people around you and you help us get out of this pandemic a little bit faster,” Cuomo pressed.

“So, what’s next? Are we all going to lock ourselves in our homes whenever there’s a flu outbreak or there’s an outbreak of a cold, a common cold? Are we going to lock ourselves inside our homes and wear a moon suit? Where does it end?” Roman replied.

Cuomo said the buck stops with getting the jab and that Roman is part of the reason the Delta variant is spreading quickly. (RELATED: Third Pfizer Dose ‘Strongly’ Effective Against Delta Variant, Company Data Suggests)

“Tony, I mean, what are you thinking?” Cuomo asked.


“Then why did you leave your house when you had COVID?” Roman shot back. “You had it and you left your house. It’s been documented.”

The two then got into a debate about protecting people against COVID, with Cuomo saying the vaccine should be taken while Roman said Cuomo should consult his brother, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, about protecting people from the coronavirus.

“My stance here is a pro-freedom stance only,” Roman eventually said. “It’s not political … This is not about whether I’m pro-vaccine or not. I’m pro-freedom, anti-tyranny, okay?”

“You’re pro-freedom but people can’t wear masks. Tony, it doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t. I gave you a chance to make the case,” the CNN host said.

“I made my case,” Roman said. “You didn’t have much to say.”

“Honestly, you sound like an idiot,” Cuomo shot back.

“So do you,” Roman said.