CNN's Cuomo defends Antifa: Those who oppose hate 'are on the side of right'

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said late Monday that Antifa should not be equated with white supremacists, arguing that "in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right" even if they resort to "petty violence."

"You attack cops, you slap the media, you are in the wrong, period," Cuomo said in a commentary on "Cuomo Prime Time." "But I argue to you tonight all punches are not equal, morally."

"In the eyes of the law, yes. But in the eyes of good and evil, here’s the argument: If you’re a punk who comes to start trouble in a mask and hurt people, you’re not about any virtuous cause," he continued. "You’re just somebody that’s going to be held to the standard of doing something wrong."

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"But when someone comes to call out bigots and it gets hot, even physical, are they equally wrong as the bigot they’re fighting? I argue no. ... Fighting 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, legitimizes hateful belief and elevates what should be stamped out."

"Antifa or whomever ... or malcontent or misguided, they are also wrong to hit, but fighting hate is right," Cuomo said later. "And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”

The perspective comes after a weekend of protests in Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville, Va., that included members of Antifa, which is short for "anti-fascist," attacking police and reporters covering a "Unite the Right 2" rally. The demonstrations came one year after deadly protests in Charlottesville that included one woman, Heather Heyer, being run over and killed. A man with reported Neo-Nazi ties has been charged in the death.

Cuomo concluded on his prime-time show that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE is "wrong to create a moral equivalency" between white supremacists and those who oppose them, even if "they resort to the same petty violence."

"That's why people who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots," he said, "even if they do resort to the same petty violence. ... We should be our best. But I am arguing Trump is wrong to create a moral equivalency between bigots and those who oppose them, making them equal wrongs. Those hateful few who take solace and encouragement from the president’s efforts, my message to you is simple: Be aware there are many of us who see you as unequal."

Cuomo once compared anti-fascist members to allied troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day to fight Nazi soldiers in World War II in a tweet in August 2017:

"Cuomo Prime Time" launched on June 4 and quickly has become CNN's top-rated program.