In his first appearance on CNN since taking a week-long vacation, Cuomo, CNN’s most-watched anchor, defended the way he managed his relationship with his older brother as New York’s top state authority grappled with accusations of sexual harassment, and then, in a move that caught many by surprise, decided to step down. Cuomo told viewers Monday that he advised his brother to resign and face the allegations, but also said he tried to behave as appropriately as he could under CNN’s rules.
“It’s not easy being in this business and coming from a political family,” Chris Cuomo said, reiterating that he acknowledged making a mistake earlier this year when he engaged in strategy sessions with Governor Cuomo’s advisers, and never did so again after telling CNN executives he would not. He also noted that he continued to talk to his brother about his situation directly, and as such, never took part in CNN’s coverage of Gov. Cuomo or tried to influence any of it.
“It was a unique situation being a brother to a politician in a scandal and being part of the media,” Cuomo said.
CNN admitted months ago that the anchor messed up. “It was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward,” CNN said in a May statement. The network may have abetted its anchor by allowing him to interview his brother on this show several times in the early days of the pandemic. “The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time,” CNN said in February. “We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest.”
But Cuomo told viewers Monday night that his sibling’s appearances on his show were always intended to be “short-lived.” He also said he never attacked any woman who made claims against his brother, or called anyone in the media to lobby on his brother’s behalf.
CNN no doubt hopes to put the entire episode behind it. His show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” drew CNN’s largest overall audience in July, and in the second quarter of 2021, a continuation of the results it has generated since launching in 2018.
Chris Cuomo is known for possessing a garrulous and avuncular on-air style, but viewers who expect to him to offer more remarks about his brother’s resignation will likely be disappointed. Chris Cuomo said he would no longer speak about the issue on air.