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Chris Cuomo, Ted Cruz explode in off-the-rails CNN interview

Chris CuomoChris CuomoTrump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Kinzinger: GOP will 'be a minority party forever' if we keep supporting Trump Cruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' MORE and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFive takeaways from CPAC 2021 Trump wins CPAC straw poll with 55 percent 'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines MORE (R-Texas) got into a shouting match on CNN Wednesday night, with Cruz accusing the CNN anchor of insulting him and Cuomo alleging Cruz is afraid of President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE.

The interview descended into chaos after Cuomo, who is the younger brother of New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo apologizes over allegations, calls for NY AG to tap lawyer for independent probe New York AG says Cuomo statement is not sufficient for independent investigation Cuomo asks New York AG to appoint independent attorney to investigate sexual harassment claims MORE (D), questioned the response to the coronavirus pandemic by GOP governors in Texas, Florida and Georgia.

"There is something disgusting that Democrats are doing, that Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden offers support to union organizing efforts Senate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE does, and that you do, which is you try to blame the people who've lost their lives on your political enemies," Cruz said. "It's not right at all and it's particularly not right, Chris, when your brother has presided over the state with the highest death rate in the country."

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"New York's record will stand for itself," Cuomo said. 

"I know your brother didn't want those people to lose their lives but you shouldn't play politics," Cruz noted. 

"Oh, that's good. So you don't think he intentionally killed them. That's good. That's very charitable of you," Cuomo replied sarcastically. 

"Of course not!" Cruz shot back. "We could have a very reasonable policy discussion about the policy mistakes in New York, New Jersey of sending COVID-positive patients into nursing homes, and I think that was a very serious policy mistake."

"Uh-huh. Because that didn't happen all over the country, right?" Cuomo said.

"No, it didn't happen in Texas. That's one of the reasons why the death rate in New York is four times the death rate in Texas," Cruz replied. 

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According to a New York State Health Department report, between March 25 and May 8, more than 6,300 COVID-positive patients were admitted to NY nursing homes. 

The New York Times reported in July that the decision came as a result of "a directive that Mr. Cuomo’s administration delivered in late March, effectively ordering nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals."

The CNN interview was later laced with personal insults. 

"To watch guys like you stand around and stroke your beard like a wise man instead of telling the president to get on it," Cuomo said in reference to Cruz's beard. 

"How about tell your brother to get on it!" Cruz shot back. 

"Why don't you talk to the president the way you talk to my brother? Are you scared of him? Are you afraid he'll smack you down?" the anchor retorted. 

"Oh yeah, I'm terrified of the Cuomos," Cruz sarcastically responded. 

"Not the Cuomos. I'm talking about the president. The one who called you a liar. The one who said your wife was ugly. That guy. The guy now who you won't say anything about," Cuomo said

"You wonder why you don't have a lot of Republicans who want to come on your show," Cruz noted. 

"I have more than any other show," Cuomo claimed. 

Chris Cuomo received backlash in May for having Gov. Cuomo on the program on several occasions without pressing him on the nursing home issue. 

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Cuomo's prime-time program finished as the most-watched program on CNN in the third quarter in 2020, averaging more than 1.7 million viewers while finishing 20th in cable news rankings overall in total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.