Fox News Host Sean Hannity Doubles Down on Chris Cuomo Defense as Donald Trump Slams Republicans Defending Him

Fox News host Sean Hannity defended Chris Cuomo again over a viral video of him aggressively confronting a heckler, as President Donald Trump lambasted Republicans for coming out in support of the CNN anchor.

A man called Cuomo "Fredo," in reference to the weak and incompetent Corleone brother from The Godfather, as he was with his family on New York's Shelter Island. Cuomo responded angrily and profanely, threatening to use violence while encouraging the man to swing at him.

While many people accused Cuomo of overreacting, including his comparison of using "Fredo" against an Italian to the n-word, some conservatives, including Hannity, defended him and said it is not right for public figures to be harassed, particularly when with their families.

President Trump, who has clashed with Cuomo previously, seized on the video of the incident and described the CNN anchor as "an out of control animal" and a "disgrace," and that he did not know why anybody would defend him.

After making those remarks on the White House lawn, Trump later tweeted: "It always happens! When a Conservative does even a fraction of what Chris Cuomo did with his lunatic ranting, raving, & cursing, they get destroyed by the Fake News. But when a Liberal Democrat like Chris Cuomo does it, Republicans immediately come to his defense. We never learn!"

Hannity had defended Cuomo on Monday after the video emerged, and he did so again on Tuesday night after Trump's tweet. The Fox News host rarely contradicts the president, who he supports and who makes regular appearances on his show.

"Last night on Twitter I defended Cuomo—he did not start this—because I don't support harassment of any public figure. Especially in front of their children, and their family, and their wife," said Hannity, who does not think Cuomo should apologize.

"No person in this country should be taunted because of their political beliefs or opinions, and with that said, 'Fredo' was designed to be an insult… It was an insult. He was like the dumb brother in the show. So he's insulting Chris Cuomo. And Chris has a right to defend himself.

"And let's not be phony here, everybody, we've all heard those words before, we've watched YouTube, and anybody feigning outrage, 'Oh, your precious ears never heard these words before.' Frankly, you're probably full of it, or if you act offended, you're just acting like a liberal that is offended by everything."

In a statement, CNN said it stood by Cuomo over the incident: "Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him."

Cuomo, whose brother is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, tweeted: "Appreciate all the support but - truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose."

cnn chris cuomo video fredo sean hannity
CNN's Chris Cuomo is seen arriving at "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 2, 2019 in New York City. Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images