CNN Host Attacks Trump Supporter: 'Spare Me the BS…the Shutdown Is on Your Head'

CNN host Chris Cuomo clashed with a former aide to President Donald Trump's campaign over an Instagram post by Donald Trump Jr. in which he used a zoo as a metaphor for why his father's southern border wall is important.

The post by Trump Jr., which has since been deleted following a backlash, said: "You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work."

There is an ongoing federal government shutdown because Democrats, who hold a majority in the House, will not give Trump any of the $5.7 billion he is demanding to fund his border wall. Trump and the Republicans are refusing to back down and pass any budget without explicit funding for the wall.

Read more: Twitter roasts Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over their Trump response

As a result of the shutdown, 800,000 federal employees will go unpaid until the government reopens. The president said he was "proud" to shut down the government "for border security" and that he would "take the mantle" for it.

During his show Cuomo Prime Time on Wednesday night, Cuomo accused President Trump of "demonising the people that come into this country and saying that a wall would make it all better.

"His son is echoing that thought. He compares the situation to a zoo. And we all get it. You don't have to be sophisticated to get it. That's what they're about—calling these people animals and wanting to treat them that way."

But Cuomo's guest Steve Cortes, who worked on Trump's 2016 campaign and was an adviser to the president's National Hispanic Advisory Council, took issue with attributing Trump Jr.'s statements to his father.

"That's not fair to say 'they.' That's not fair. Donald Trump Jr. said that, not the president. That's just not fair, Chris," Cortes said. "The president didn't…put that statement out, Donald Trump Jr. did. He shouldn't have. He should apologize for it. It's inappropriate, it's offensive.

"He has no role in the administration, he has no role in a government position, he's not like his sister or his brother-in-law [Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner], he's certainly not his father, who was elected president of the United States.

"But it's unfair for you to try to drag the president into that and then you almost sneak in there a 'they' as if the two of them decided that these are animals in a zoo we're trying to keep out. No, that's not the reality. The president didn't say that, he's never said that."

Cuomo hit back, saying Cortes "has never hesitated to throw my brother at me whenever it suits him politically by the way, you forget that, it's convenient for you."

The host's brother Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic Governor of New York, a post he has held since 2011. The pair's late father Mario Cuomo was also governor of New York for three terms.

Cortes responded that he only ever brought Cuomo's brother into any debates "for policy reasons."

"Oh please, spare me the BS, alright, I've had enough today," Cuomo says, clearly irritated.

"No, that's not BS," Cortes says as the two men talk over each other. "No, no, for policy reasons when he says that ICE is a bunch of thugs, that is his statement."

Cuomo said: "It's complete BS. This is a policy reason. That's my point. I hear you, it just doesn't make any sense."

Read more: Why the Trump presidency cannot be annulled—"It is a fantasy"

The other guest, Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, filed her nails during the discussion to make the point that Trump Jr. is irrelevant, calling him an "entitled, spoilt, rich, little brat whose only call to fame is being his daddy's son."

When Navarro began doing her nails again during the debate as Cortes was speaking, he said: "You can do your nails. You know who can't do their nails? People who have been killed, Ana, by dangerous, known illegal aliens who have been allowed to stay in this country because of the leftist policies that people like you promote in so-called sanctuary cities to allow them to hide in plain sight."

Cuomo then signed off the segment: "Steve, let me just tell you something—get down off the soapbox. Because if you want to worry about who can file their nails, worry about who can pay their damn bills. This shutdown is on your head, my brother. This is what the president wanted. He has it now. And people are paying the price."

cnn chris cuomo steve cortes
GOP strategist Ana Navarro, CNN host Chris Cuomo, and Steve Cortes appear on "Cuomo Prime Time" on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. CNN

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts