Chris Cuomo said he was sympathetic to a local restaurant not wanting to serve customers wearing MAGA hats, arguing that for some the hat was analogous to wearing a shirt bearing an openly racist message.
“Ordinarily I’d go down the line of, ‘Look, be bigger than that,’ but I don’t want to fall into the trap of underselling the significance of the trigger of the expression to people,” Cuomo told Don Lemon at the end of his new CNN primetime show. “I think the more appropriate analogy to say is, if people were wearing shirts in that said, ‘I hate black people,’ would he be OK to say, ‘Don’t come into my place with that.'”
“Yeah, yeah,” Lemon nodded in agreement.
“I think most people would be like, ‘Yeah.’ That’s how people like him see the MAGA hat,” Cuomo concluded.
“Life is not in a vacuum. That hat means a lot of things,” Lemon added. “Maybe that hat means the Central Park Five to people, maybe it means birtherism to people, maybe it means Mexicans are rapists to people. You cannot erase those things from the story of that hat.”
Later on Cuomo said he was still uncomfortable with the idea of businesses banning customers from wearing the hat. Reps for Cuomo at CNN declined to comment.
Though the anchor’s new “Cuomo Primetime” has been a ratings win for CNN, the higher profile has also put him on the radar of right-leaning critics. In August 2018, the anchor raised objections after appearing to justify violence from “anti-fascist” protesters.
“It’s not about being right in the eyes of the law, but you also have to know what’s right and wrong in a moral and a good and evil sense,” said Cuomo “That’s why people who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots, even if they do resort to the same kinds of petty violence. The law will take care of that.”