CNN host Chris Cuomo lectured a supporter of President Donald Trump for continuing to push his bold assertion that both neo-Nazis and counter-protesters were equally at fault in the violence that tore Charlottesville apart last weekend.
Appearing on a panel with former Ohio lawmaker Nina Turner, conservative Ben Ferguson attempted to both finesse and disavow Trump’s comments at an impromptu press conference on Tuesday, only to have Cuomo claim he ended up sounding like Trump.
“Ben, I get the argument that the president did say it, he did say he rejects bigotry,” Cuomo began. “It’s about how, Ben. You know if you were in that position, not as president, but you have your own following, people come to you, they listen to your show, you’re a moral agent for a lot of your listeners. you would have said, ‘the KKK, they’re despicable, they went down that there provoke — this is who they are and what they’re about.'”
“There’s two different conversations people have,” Ferguson offered. “There’s the water-cooler conversation people have when they saw the videos of the fighting between two groups of people — it was very clear when you’re watching the TV. That’s the conversation a lot of people were having the next morning, ‘did you see how awful the violence was last night, I can’t believe that happened, it’s terrible.'”
“There’s also a leadership conversation, and this is where the president has to make it very clear every time something like this happens, that you come out, condemn a group and there’s not that water cooler conversation with it,” he continued before subtly pushing the president’s argument again.
“I think many Americans saw there are real issues with a race war that people want to have and they want to divide and they want to fight and they want to cause violence, and there are extremes on both ends,” Ferguson attempted before being pulled up by Cuomo.
“I don’t even see the extremes on both ends,” Cuomo lectured. “Even if you take the antifa people at their worst, criminals in their ranks, do you have people that do violent things? It’s yes, yes, yes, yes.”
‘That is not a moral equivalency to the KKK, Ben. All they’re about is hate,” he continued. “Two out of three people on this panel, they don’t want them to exist. That’s different than having a group, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or any other symbol that the right wants to throw up. This new ‘alt-left,’ which I think is a manufactured term, is not equivalent to what we see on the right.”
“If you look at the stats, the number one domestic terror threat in the United States is the extreme right, there is not even a close second,” he told the abashed Ferguson. “Putting the facts to the side, when you say extremes on both sides, Ben, it sounds like you too are saying the KKK has a functional equivalent on the other side.”
Watch the video below via CNN: