As per usual, Chris Cuomo briefly joined Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night ahead of the start of Cuomo Prime Time, but this conversation was anything but usual. In it, Cuomo responded to being one of dozens of people on a hit list, which included prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump in the media. Cuomo’s first thoughts were of his family.
“This is scary,” Cuomo said. “This is something that the people who get named, we have to deal with, especially with our family because while we accept it as just the nature of the world we live in these days, my brother, this is very scary to the people and the little ones at home. So we’ve got to deal with that.”
Earlier in the day, news broke that a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, and self-described white nationalist, Christopher Paul Hasson, who was arrested last week on weapons and drug charges, was planning a large-scale terrorist attack. It was also discovered after the arrest that Hasson, who had amassed a large cache of weapons and ammunition, had compiled the hit list shortly after internet searches for things like “what if Trump illegally impeached,” “best place in dc to see congress people,” “civil war if trump impeached” and “social democrats usa.”
“We need ways, if it turns out he is sick, we need ways to keep weapons like the arsenal that this man put together from people who shouldn’t have them,” Cuomo said. “We have to be able to find a better way. God forbid someone like this takes action and then we learn too late.”
This is the second time in just a few months that high profile critics of the president have been targeted. Last October, Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc was charged with sending over a dozen pipe bombs to Trump critics. And though Trump consistently refers to the media as the “enemy of the people,” Cuomo was careful not to place blame.
“He knows his words have power. He knows he should choose them carefully,” Cuomo said, adding, “He’s gotta be careful about what he says, but you gotta be careful about causation and correlation.”
But while Cuomo was hesitant to place blame, CNN colleague Don Lemon, who was also on the list, made a direct correlation to the president’s words and people’s actions.
“We need to thank the Coast Guard and law enforcement for stopping this in time,” Lemon said. “But we need to talk about why, once again, critics of the president are being targeted with violence.” He later added, “These things don’t happen in a vacuum. The president’s words matter.”
Prominent democrats on the hit list include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Watch former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe question where Trump’s loyalties lie:
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