CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday pushed back on the label "fake news," saying he views it as the equivalent of an ethnic slur for journalists.
“I see being called ‘fake news’ as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists,” Cuomo said on Sirius XM's "POTUS."
"[It’s] the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity. That’s what fake news is to a journalist," he continued.
“It is an ugly insult, and you had better be right if you’re going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose," the host of CNN's "New Day" added. "The president was not right here and he’s not been right in the past.”
Cuomo quickly took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to apologize for the comparison:
I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake -nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur. I should not have said it. I apologize https://t.co/TJGUgWz9Q2— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 9, 2017
I want to thank you for calling me out for equating fake with other slurs. Wasn't my intention to diminish but just saying it was too much. https://t.co/WxDSiQ90i3— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 9, 2017
“Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam,” Trump tweeted. "FAKE NEWS!”
Cuomo immediately addressed Trump’s attack on-air, with the network rebroadcasting his questioning of Blumenthal about past discrepancies in his military service record.
“Really, [it’s] the first point I made in the interview,” Cuomo said on Sirius XM. "The president, with all due respect, is once again off on the facts. And that’s not something that any of us have any desire to say on a regular basis, but it keeps being true."
“Fake news is the worst thing you can call a journalist. It’s like an ethnic disparagement. We all have these ugly words for people. That’s the one for journalists," he said.
In his tweet Thursday, Trump was referencing a controversy surrounding Blumenthal’s 2010 Senate campaign. Blumenthal admitted during a press conference that year he had "misspoken" about his service during the Vietnam War.
“On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that and take full responsibility,” said Blumenthal, who was a Marine Corps. reservist for six years during the conflict.
“But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country,” he added, noting he mistakenly said he had served “in” Vietnam rather than stating “during Vietnam” instead.
Trump feuded with Blumenthal after the Democratic senator claimed Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, called the president's rhetoric “demoralizing” and “disheartening” for judges nationwide.
A spokesman for Gorsuch confirmed the nominee had made the comments.
Updated: 4:28 p.m.