CNN host Chris Cuomo ended his show Monday night with a “closing argument” about Antifa violence that was equal parts shocking and revolting. The journalist condemned violence against Antifa, while apologizing for violence from its members.
Last weekend was the one year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where a woman was left dead after a neo-Nazi crashed his car into a group of pedestrians. The organizers planned another “Unite the Right” rally this year in Washington, D.C., that was surrounded by a ton of media hype. But only a few dozen bigoted morons showed up.
This year, the violence was solely on the side of the counter protest — members of Antifa assaulted police officers and journalists. But the press payed very little attention. In his segment, Cuomo immediately downplayed their presence by describing them as being “peppered in the crowd” of peaceful protesters.
He acknowledged it was “wrong” for them to violently confront police and berate journalists, but then argued “all punches are not equal.” Here’s a partial transcript.
In the eyes of the law, [all punches are equal,] yes. But in the eyes of good and evil, here’s the argument: If you’re a punk who comes and starts trouble in a mask and hurt people, you’re not about any virtuous cause. You’re just somebody who’s going to be held to the standard of doing something wrong. But when someone comes to call out bigots and it gets hot, even physical, are they equally wrong as the bigot they are fighting? I argue no. Fighting against hate matters. Now how you fight matters too, there’s no question about that. But drawing a moral equivalency between those espousing hate and those fighting it because they both resort to violence emboldens hate, legitimates hateful belief, and elevates what should be stamped out.
So, Cuomo believes there’s a “moral” distinction between violence coming from Antifa and the racists who attend these rallies, because he believes Antifa is simply “anti-hate,” meaning they oppose white supremacy. But what Cuomo doesn’t acknowledge is that while these Antifa members may are also full of hate, even if a different kind.
We’ve seen several instances of Trump supporters being assaulted by thugs wearing black masks. Cuomo might try to draw a distinction between condoning violence against racists and violence against those who voted for Trump, but the hate-filled activists whose violence Cuomo is excusing probably won’t. Regardless, Cuomo is excusing violence against peaceful demonstrators.
Cuomo’s irresponsible remarks align with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters’ recent call for liberals to publicly harass everyone in the Trump administration. We’ve already seen Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, White House advisor Stephen Miller, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer confronted by hostile protestors. It’s only a matter of time before someone tries to punch one of them in the face. But as Cuomo says, not all punches are equal.
There is absolutely never a justification for physical violence against law-abiding, peaceful individuals. Ever. There are plenty of vile human beings who roam free like David Duke, Alex Jones, or Richard Spencer. None of them should be assaulted.
Cuomo is wrong when he says those who attack bigots are “morally” right. When you incite violence, even against those full of hatred, you no longer have moral authority. Between civility and violence, the choice should be obvious.
We cannot respond to hate with more hate. And we cannot make excuses for it.