CNN's Chris Cuomo was caught on camera lashing out at a man who he said insulted him using an ethnic slur.
“You called me f***ing 'Fredo.' It's like I call you punk b****, you like that?” Cuomo said. “You called me 'Fredo.' You know my name is not f***ing Fredo.”
"Fredo" refers to Fredo Corleone, the brother who betrayed his mafia family in “The Godfather” series. In the films, Fredo, who is the older brother to Don Michael, is sent to Las Vegas to oversee the family’s casino empire but ends up selling out his relatives.
Fredo was seen as weak and dimwitted. Because of that, he was passed over for Godfather because he wasn’t as smart as his younger brother.
“I can handle things; I’m smart, not dumb like everybody says. I'm smart and I want respect,” Fredo, portrayed by late actor John Cazale, tells Michael, famously portrayed by Al Pacino.
For Cuomo, whose older brother, Andrew Cuomo, is the governor of New York, he said the name is not only seen as an insult because of his politician brother. He said it's also ethnic slur against his Italian-American heritage.
“Fredo is from ‘The Godfather.’ He was a weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aspersion. Any of you Italian?” Cuomo said in the video. “Are you Italian? It's a f**** insult to your people. It's an insult to your f**** people. It's like the ‘N’ word for us.”
As the video went viral, CNN defended Cuomo's rant, saying a statement, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. ... We completely support him.”
However, the president didn't take the same tone when commenting on the conversation.
“I thought Chris was Fredo,” Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “The truth hurts. Totally lost it!”
An hour later, Trump referenced Cuomo again, tweeting, “Filthy language and a total loss of control. He's nuts!”
Cuomo spoke out Tuesday, saying he regrets losing his cool.
“I should be better than the guys baiting me,” he tweeted. “No need to add to the ugliness.”