CNN's Cuomo: Jeb Bush 'Not A New Republican' on Same-Sex 'Marriage'

CNN's Chris Cuomo asserted that Jeb Bush "doesn't seem to be the new Republican" on Monday's New Day, after the former Florida governor voiced his support of traditional marriage during a recent interview on CBN. Cuomo later underlined that Bush is "going to have to figure out how to please the plurality" on the marriage issue, and added that "this is not a well-calculated move on that front." [video below]

Co-anchor Michaela Pereira also spotlighted how the potential Republican presidential candidate previously stated that "there should be respect for the good people on both sides of the issue," and claimed that Bush's latest remark on marriage had "very different tone." She then asked, "Could that just be because of who he was talking to? He was at a very conservative Christian group....So was he pandering to the audience, or is that really where he stands on the issue?"

Cuomo led into a segment with Jeb Bush supporter and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro by noting how the Republican was "attacked for being indecisive on the Iraq War – well, there's one issue where he is leaving nothing to question: gay marriage....he says that traditional marriage is a sacrament – true – and he says for that reason there should be no constitutional right to marry at all, let alone for same-sex." The anchor continued with his "doesn't seem to be the new Republican" line about Bush.

Navarro, who is a social liberal on the marriage issue, replied, in part, that "he [Bush] was talking as a Catholic in that interview....And one of the things that I like and appreciate about Jeb Bush is that we can disagree...He's got his very strong held beliefs, but you can disagree with him." When Pereira then followed up with her "different tone" claim about his statement to the "very conservative Christian group," the Jeb Bush supporter retorted, "Are they inconsistent – those two statements – to say we should be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage, and to say that we need to respect both sides of the issue?" The CNN anchor granted that she had a "fair point."

Cuomo later played up that "support of traditional marriage has become code for no same-sex marriage," and contended that Bush "has another problem. I understand what you're saying about Catholicism. I grew up with a Catholic politician raising me. His religion is not the rule for all in America. The Constitution is our national rule...So how is he going to separate that?...he's not only going to lead Catholics." He continued with his "not a well-calculated move" label of the former governor's stance. Navarro replied, "I think everybody has got to figure that out – right?" One wonders if the CNN anchor would have made a similar statement about President Obama when he had the same stance as Jeb Bush during his first presidential campaign.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the Ana Navarro segment from Monday's New Day:

CHRIS CUOMO: Jeb Bush attacked for being indecisive on the Iraq War – well, there's one issue where he is leaving nothing to question: gay marriage. The probable presidential candidate – he hasn't announced yet, for all the scrutiny he's getting – he says that traditional marriage is a sacrament – true – and he says for that reason there should be no constitutional right to marry at all, let alone for same-sex.

So let's discuss this Ana Navarro. She's a CNN political commentator, a big friend of the show, and a Republican strategist who is a supporter of Jeb Bush-

PEREIRA: And she's here, which is great-

CUOMO: And she is here in all her beauty and splendor.

ANA NAVARRO, JEB BUSH SUPPORTER: (laughs) So excited to be here with you guys today.

CUOMO: So, what is your friend, Jeb Bush, up to with this marriage statement? Doesn't seem to be the new Republican-

NAVARRO: I tell you, I – I think the man needs to start eating carbs again. (Cuomo and Pereira laugh)

CUOMO: It will kill you – those protein diets. Why do you say that?

NAVARRO: No, look, I think – I think Jeb Bush is – has very strong social values. I think he has very strong religious values. He is a converted Catholic. And I think, as a Catholic, he's talking as a Catholic. He was talking as a Catholic in that interview. Marriage is a sacrament-

CUOMO: Yes-

NAVARRO: You're a Catholic. I'm a bad one, but I'm a Catholic, too. (Cuomo laughs) It is a sacrament. Now, the question of constitutional right, and let me just say that – you know, Jeb and I disagree on the gay marriage issue. And one of the things that I like and appreciate about Jeb Bush is that we can disagree. We've had many discussions and conversations about this issue throughout the years and – you know, he's willing to listen. He's got his very strong held beliefs, but you can disagree with him. And I think that's okay. In America, we can disagree on important issues.

PEREIRA: I – I agree with that. But he has said before – the quote is – he's said before, 'There should be respect for the good people on both sides of the issue.' And that's a very different tone than what he was coming out with. Could that just be because of who he was talking to? He was at a very conservative Christian group. He was saying those words to them. So is – was he pandering to the audience, or is that really where he stands on the issue?

NAVARRO: You know, are they inconsistent – those two statements – to say we should be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage, and to say that we need to respect both sides of the issue?

PEREIRA: Fair point-

NAVARRO: I mean can – why is it mutually exclusive to be a stalwart supporter of traditional marriage, and to – which I am – and to also be in favor of same-sex marriage – what he's not, but I am? So I – you know, I think sometimes we make these statements out to be too black and white.

CUOMO: Well, support of traditional marriage has become code for no same-sex marriage-

PEREIRA: Right-

CUOMO: And the problem goes away if legally – if the Court declares that there's a right, then this all goes away because, as Carly Fiorina laid out, you have to follow the law, if you want to – you know, if it becomes the supreme law of the land after the Supreme Court.

But he has another problem. I understand what you're saying about Catholicism. I grew up with a Catholic politician raising me. His religion is not the rule for all in America. The Constitution is our national rule – and those are our rules. So how is he going to separate that? Because if he says, look, I'm a Catholic, for me this is what it is – but he's not only going to lead Catholics-

PEREIRA: Yeah-

CUOMO: So he's going to have to figure out how to please the plurality. It seems like this is not a well-calculated move on that front.

NAVARRO: But I think everybody has got to figure that out – right? I mean, how many Catholic politicians – and you know some very well – have had to figure out how to separate state and religion? I mean it's – you know, it is actually – actually how we govern in this country. We have a separation between church and state. And, you know, we go to the question, and – you know, God knows I barely made it through law school. I'm not a constitutional scholar. But is there a right – a constitutional right to – not only gay marriage – straight marriage in the Constitution? There's an equal protection right, and I think that's what the Supreme Court is going to find. And I think this issue is going to be moot by the time 2016 comes around.

We're going to have other issues. We're going to have a very legitimate question on religious liberty. We're going to have the issue of traditional marriage and being supportive of that as – as making a stronger American family and what that means particularly in the inner cities. But the question on same-sex marriage might be very well moot by next month.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Culture/Society Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Religion Christianity Sexuality Homosexuality Same-sex marriage CNN New Day Video Chris Cuomo Michaela Pereira Jeb Bush Ana Navarro
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