In a surprise move, Fox News host Tucker Carlson stood up for Chris Cuomo on Monday night, saying it was “understandable” that the embattled CNN anchor would advise his brother Andrew amid the New York governor’s spiraling sexual harassment scandal because “loyalty should be to your family above all else.”
Noting that Chris Cuomo just recently took an extremely well-timed vacation as Andrew Cuomo’s controversy threatens to push him out of office, Carlson poked fun at CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter for reporting that the vacation was scheduled well in advance.
“This is CNN’s position. Whenever one of our anchors takes a vacation, it’s real. If you work at Fox News, all vacations are Potemkin vacations,” the Fox host declared before sharing a clip of CNN’s Don Lemon suggesting that one of Carlson’s vacations was due to controversy.
After taking his requisite shots at CNN, Carlson then defended his CNN rival for serving as an informal adviser to his brother as sexual misconduct allegations threatened to end Gov. Cuomo’s political career. And Carlson said he was defending the anchor in “total sincerity,” even while he aired graphics mocking Cuomo and other CNN hosts throughout.
“One, you’re not responsible for the misbehavior of your relatives,” he said. “Sorry. You didn’t choose them. You’re not responsible for anybody else’s misbehavior. Only your own.”
Noting that Chris Cuomo had come under fire for “helping his brother in the middle of a crisis,” Carlson—who has multiple family members involved in politics and media—said we need “to be real for a second” and realize how “understandable” it is.
“It’s his brother,” the Fox star exclaimed. “Your loyalty should be to your family above all else. Not joking at all. Maybe even above your job. Maybe even above Jeff Zucker. If your brother calls and says, ‘I need help,’ if you don’t give him help because you’re pretending to be an anchor on some stupid cable channel that nobody watches, you’re betraying your brother.”
He continued: “And that’s a greater sin than any of the dumb politics they espouse on that channel. Totally true. So we’re not going to criticize him for that.”
According to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ probe of the governor’s accusations, Chris Cuomo drafted public statements defending his brother’s behavior, among other things. Back in May, after it was first reported that he was clandestinely advising his brother on the sexual misconduct scandal, the CNN anchor publicly apologized and said it would “never happen again.” On Monday night, however, The Washington Post reported that Andrew Cuomo “continues to confer” with his brother about the allegations.
CNN, after previously saying “it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff,” noted on Monday night that the network and Chris Cuomo have both acknowledged that he “cannot cover his brother, in part because we certainly expect them to speak.”
A network spokesperson added in a statement to The Daily Beast: “He’s not joined any meetings nor acted in any official capacity since he apologized for doing so. That’s our expectation as we’ve said all along.”
While Chris Cuomo has steered clear of covering his brother’s scandals on the air in recent months, he did repeatedly host the governor for friendly primetime interviews during the early months of the pandemic, helping establish Andrew Cuomo’s image as a strong leader. After controversy began to bubble up over the governor’s response to COVID-19, however, it was reported that CNN had re-established its ban on Chris Cuomo interviewing or extensively covering his brother.