Chris Cuomo gets into it with restaurant owner who 'banned' vaccinated customers: 'You sound like an idiot'

·3 min read

Chris Cuomo may regret inviting Huntington Beach, Calif., restaurant owner Tony Roman onto Cuomo Prime Time Wednesday. Roman, owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, recently made headlines for posting a sign in the window saying they would only serve unvaccinated customers, adding, “We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity.”

“Tony, is this a little bit of a joke?” Cuomo asked. “Can you give me some hope that you really don't want people to not get vaccinated so they can come to your restaurant?” “That's a good question. You're a smart guy,” Roman replied. “It's an IQ test.”

Roman, who would later admit there is no way to prove someone has not been vaccinated, said in his own way that the sign is to keep out those who would be upset by the sign.

“Like I say to people when they ask me, if they're so blinded with their rage and their hate,” Roman said, “I tell them, ‘You know what, if you don't understand it, maybe we should put up a sign that says you're too stupid to come into the restaurant.’ I mean, it’s very simple.”

Things really began to get testy when talking about vaccination status. Roman admitted that he is not vaccinated, then asked Cuomo if he was. Though Cuomo answered immediately, Roman accused him of hesitating then very awkwardly asked him again.

While Roman originally said he thought Cuomo understood why the sign was posted, following this interaction, he told Cuomo that he was failing the IQ test, which was expected.

Tony, it doesn't make sense. It really doesn't. I gave you a chance to make the case.Chris Cuomo

Roman would go on to list far-right talking points on COVID-19 restrictions, then brought up Cuomo’s brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been accused of grossly mishandling the pandemic, and has a very different view of vaccines from Roman. Gov. Cuomo urged all New York businesses to serve only vaccinated patrons.

“You have the freedom not to take the vaccine,” Cuomo said, “I just don’t know why you don’t think it’s a good move.” To which Roman responded, “Maybe — maybe we should ask your brother about protecting people, right?”

Roman said his stance on the vaccine is about freedom, so Cuomo reminded him that he had a no-mask policy last year as the pandemic worsened, and the interview soon came to its inevitable conclusion.

“You’re pro-freedom but people can't wear masks. Tony, it doesn't make sense. It really doesn’t,” Cuomo said. “I gave you a chance to make the case. I wish you well. I hope your family stays safe.” “I made my case,” Roman replied. “You didn't have much to say. You didn’t have much to say.” “I mean, honestly, you sound like an idiot,” Cuomo responded, “so there’s not much to say. Tony, good luck with it. See ya.” “And so do you,” Roman retorted. “Yeah, only for having you on the show,” Cuomo said as Roman disappeared from the screen.

Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.

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