CNN lead anchor Jake Tapper became the latest top talent at the network to criticize fellow host Chris Cuomo for how he handled recent scandals surrounding his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I cannot imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate,” Tapper said in an interview with The New York Times reporter Kara Swisher. “So I agree with that. And he said, Chris, in his apology that he delivered on air, said that he put us in a bad spot. And I would also agree with that.”
Gov. Cuomo has been accused by multiple former staffers of sexual harassment, prompting New York state AG Letitia James to commission an independent investigation into accusations by five women. A federal investigation is also underway into charges that the governor’s office covered up COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes to obscure the actual pandemic death toll in New York.
As the scandals unfolded, Chris Cuomo said on his CNN show that he would not cover them on his show due to his familial relationships. But earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Cuomo attended his brother’s strategy calls on how to deal with the growing headlines, with the CNN host reportedly urging the governor not to resign and to dismiss efforts to force him out of office as “cancel culture.”
Cuomo apologized on-air after the Post’s report was published, but the strategy call has led to public criticism from other top names at CNN. Last week, Brian Stelter asked panelists on “Reliable Sources” whether Cuomo should take a leave of absence and whether CNN’s decision to allow Cuomo to interview his brother at the peak of his pandemic popularity would make it hypocritical for the network to discipline him now.
“I found those interviews good, engaging; they were informal, they were humorous at times,” Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon Jr. told Stelter. “That said, at the time I had the same thoughts: ‘Is this the right way to go?’ And now we’ve seen how the governor handled COVID and how there were some real problems there in terms of disclosure and honesty.”
“I don’t think his brother was the right person to probe that,” he continued. “It’s going to be hard to criticize or suspend Chris Cuomo now after you’ve allowed a kind of non-journalistic, or bad journalistic practice.”
But despite sharing the same network, Tapper says that scrutiny towards Cuomo hasn’t affected his work on “State of the Union.”
“It doesn’t affect my work,” he said. “Their work is not my work and my work is not their work. And yes, we all reflect on each other. But the only thing I have a role in, the only thing I have any control in, because I’m not management, right? I’m not the CNN bureau chief of D.C., I don’t have a say in anything other than what airs on my show.”