CNN's Cuomo: Ben Carson is 'Pandering to a Xenophobic Religious Minority'

CNN's Chris Cuomo painted a cynical picture of Dr. Ben Carson on Monday's New Day, as the newscast covered Jake Tapper's interview of the Republican presidential candidate from Sunday. Cuomo contended that Carson's recent stance against Muslims becoming president of the United States was a calculated move towards a supposedly extreme part of the GOP: "The problem is the candidate...seems to be pandering to a xenophobic religious minority in this country that's anti-Islam." [video below]

Co-anchor Alisyn Camerota objected to her co-anchor's point: "I think that that was Ben Carson explaining how he truly feels. He doesn't seem to be pandering...Jake pressed him enough times that I think that's his authentic feeling." Cuomo replied, "I find it hard to believe that a man of Ben Carson's intelligence – and it is formidable intelligence – would paint any group or faith with the same brush. He's too smart to do that."

Moments before the exchange, the CNN morning newscast played clips from Tapper's interview with Dr. Carson from Sunday's State of the Union, which included the moment the candidate's campaign manager cut the interview short. Anchor Michaela Pereira came in and wondered, "Did you hear any more of the back story? I mean, that is very unusual – for a campaign manager to come in, after that long of an interview, to stop things...like that." Cuomo replied with his "pandering" theory about the Republican:

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, it's ill advised, but they felt Jake [Tapper] was harping on one point, and it was supposed to be an extensive interview on different points. The problem is, the point matters. The problem is the candidate...seems to be pandering to a xenophobic religious minority in this country that's anti-Islam – and then, as he tried to clarify his position, it does demand clarification.

It should be pointed out that the CNN anchor conducted three confrontational interviews of Dr. Carson in February, March, and June of 2015.

The transcript of the exchange between anchors Michaela Pereira, Chris Cuomo, and Alisyn Camerota from Monday's New Day on CNN:

MICHAELA PEREIRA: Did you hear any more of the back story? I mean, that is very unusual – for a campaign manager to come in, after that long of an interview, to stop things – down like that-

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, it's ill advised, but they felt Jake [Tapper] was harping on one point, and it was supposed to be an extensive interview on different points. The problem is, the point matters. The problem is the candidate-

ALISYN CAMEROTA: And it does – absolutely! It's the point that everyone is trying to clarify-

CUOMO: The candidate seems to be pandering to a xenophobic religious minority in this country that's anti-Islam – and then, as he tried to clarify his position, it does demand clarification-

PEREIREA: Gets muddier – yeah-
       

CAMEROTA: But I don't know that he's pandering to it. That's how he feels. I mean, that was – I think that that was Ben Carson explaining how he truly feels. He doesn't seem to be pandering. I mean – but I mean, Jake pressed him enough times that I think that's his authentic feeling.

Has he sat down yet with Muslim leaders?

PEREIRA: That's what needs to happen-

CAMEROTA: Remember how he was – that was part of, maybe, the plan. We need to find out-

PEREIRA: I don't believe that's happened yet-

CUOMO: But those meetings, you know – look, very often, unless you're the Pope, those meetings, in a political context, are just all show, no go. You say he believes it. I find it hard to believe that a man of Ben Carson's intelligence – and it is formidable intelligence – would paint any group or faith with the same brush. He's too smart to do that.

CAMEROTA: I am taking him at his word there, since we – Jake tried a few times to get him to say it otherwise-

CUOMO: Jake did the right thing – no question about that.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Religion Christianity Islam CNN New Day Video Chris Cuomo Alisyn Camerota Michaela Pereira Jake Tapper Ben Carson
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