It became clear very quickly from CNN host Chris Cuomo’s deer-caught-in-headlights look that he probably regretted bringing liberal activist and TV personality Rosie O’Donnell onto his show for an interview. In fact, things got so bizarre that he actually found himself defending President Trump in the face of Rosie’s attacks.
The virulently anti-Trump Cuomo brought Rosie onto his show to talk about her renewed protests outside the White House fence, but she quickly got too much for even him to handle. After calling Fox News “just like state TV in Russia” and saying that most of America want Trump out of office, Rosie claimed that the 2016 presidential election was entirely rigged in Trump’s favor.
“Well, one step at time, the Russian interference is a known fact. The impact on the election is not a known fact,” Cuomo interjected. “You believe the actual outcome was rigged or just that there were efforts?”
“I do believe it was rigged. I don’t believe it was efforts. If you listen to all of our mainstream intelligence people, they believe it, too,” Rosie claimed.
“Well, they don’t believe votes were changed,” the CNN host contradicted her.
After a stunned pause, Rosie continued, “Did they [the Russians] come in there and make Trump win when every single exit poll and every person in America knew for sure that Hillary Clinton was going to win? Do you think there was anything to do with Russia, or just a really big swell for Donald Trump in these specific areas with the same exact amount of votes that were needed? It looks very hanky to me.”
The wild claims and extreme exaggerations kept coming.
Afraid her extremism could catch on, Cuomo tried to give progressives like her advice on the dangers of calling for Trump’s impeachment if Democrats take the Senate in November, especially after she falsely claimed that the “majority of America” wants Trump impeached.
“You don’t have the votes, it doesn’t happen, you galvanize support for the president, and we are torn more apart in this country — are you worried about that outcome?” Cuomo asked her.
“No,” she replied, adding that “every day he [Trump] does something worse than the day before.”
“Here is my other concern,” Cuomo continued. “There is reason to criticize the president — I’m not going to fight you on that. However, for the Democrats to come into mainstream power — that means they have what the Republicans have, the House, the Senate, the White House — I think history suggests you have to be more than anti. You have to be pro things. You have to give people a reason to believe.”
He asked: “What is that for Democrats? Where they can say not just that ‘he’s a liar, he’s a bad guy’ but ‘here’s how we’ll make the economy even better’ — which is hard given the numbers — that we’ll be even safer than we are? Because that’s what people be looking to.”
Rather than answer his question, Rosie immediately attacked the fact that the economy is doing well, questioning CNN’s own conclusion and claiming instead that the “economy is doing good if you’re a multi-billionaire. It’s not doing good, and the tax cuts didn’t do good for the average American.”
Cuomo opened his mouth to correct her, but she just kept on going.
“The fact of the matter is, he’s not only bad because he’s a liar; he’s bad because he doesn’t know how to inspire people,” Rosie then claimed.
“What about his rallies?” Cuomo piped up.
Rosie paused uncomfortably, her eyes shifting around wildly.
“First of all, people are paid, Chris, you know that,” she finally replied. “People were paid since he went down on the escalator. He pays people to show up that those rallies. That is a fact!”
Even Cuomo couldn’t accept that, telling her instead, “I don’t know that’s why he gets tens of thousands at the rallies. I think he captures a lot of emotion for people.”
“But he doesn’t get tens of thousands!” she insisted. “When did he get tens of thousands at the last rally?”
“No, not at the Tampa [rally]. I think they only had 9,000 seats, and there were people outside. But, Rosie, I’ve seen them,” he corrected her. “He gets big groups of people who come out. He gives themes that resonate.”
“But, Chris, are those people paid?” Rosie demanded.
“I don’t have the facts that his crowds are bought off. I don’t have that,” shot back a visibly frustrated Cuomo. “I’m not going to do with the president does. I’m not going to say ‘they’re all bought off, they’re all fake,’ because I think that’s BS. I don’t think it’s true, and I’m not going to play to it just because it’s satisfying.”
After Rosie told CNN they needed to get those “facts” and play a segment about every Trump rally-goer being paid off before they show any rally, Cuomo admitted that he doesn’t air Trump’s rallies and ended the interview a short while later.