CNN host Chris Cuomo devoted his closing argument Thursday night to trashing President Trump for bringing back the death penalty. Not surprisingly, he used the occasion to refer to the President as a “demagogue.”
The closing argument began with Cuomo declaring “this President wants to start killing people again on the federal level in the name of justice.” Cuomo tried using religion to make the point that the death penalty is morally wrong: “this new appeal to vengeance sounds powerful, but is taking a life a show of strength? Let’s look at it different ways. Not to Jesus. His core message for believers was love, mercy.” According to Cuomo, “if you’re pro-life and pro-death penalty, you’ve got an inconsistency. And if you argue, well, fetuses are innocent and these people are guilty, then send any Christian back to the source. Did Jesus say you decide who lives and dies?”
Cuomo proceeded to argue that the death penalty was racist; providing statistics showing that the death row population has about the same amount of blacks and whites before arguing “half of homicide victims are African-American but the death penalty is way more prevalent when the victim is white.” The CNN host also provided statistics showing that the death penalty is applied far more often when a black person kills a white person than when a white person kills a black person. Later, Cuomo referred to the death penalty as “a vestige of a less evolved society,” pointing to the fact that the United States joins China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, and Somalia as the countries with the highest number of confirmed executions.
As the hour came to a close, Cuomo proclaimed that in America, “the popularity of killing people has fallen and we are now split about 50/50 and that is the stage for this election. This President knows we are divided and he is pushing on prejudice. That’s what a demagogue does.” He devoted the final seconds of his monologue to chanting phrases he associates with President Trump: “Muslims stay out! Brown folks go home…Insult the free press if you don’t like what they report. And now, the ultimate new appeal to harshness: here we kill people.” Channeling his inner Joe Biden, Cuomo proclaimed “this is about the soul of society.”
While the televised version of his closing argument came to a close following the conclusion of Thursday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time, the debate over the death penalty continued on Cuomo’s Twitter feed. Responding to a Twitter user’s claim that violent criminals “deserve” the death penalty, Cuomo asked, “are you ok with brutality being our rule…because that’s what killing is.”
Cuomo’s brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, seems to be okay with “brutality being our rule.” After all, he signed into law a radical abortion bill earlier this year; justifying his decision by saying “I’m not here to legislate religion.” It seems like the Cuomos only like to cite religion when it backs up their preconceived opinions; which always link back to their disdain for President Trump.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Cuomo Prime Time
CHRIS CUOMO: So, this President wants to start killing people again on the federal level in the name of justice. Only three have received the death penalty since 1976 on a federal level. And Attorney General Barr now wants to nearly double that in just a six-week span. Should we have it; righteous retribution and the validation of vengeance? This new appeal to harshness sounds powerful. But is taking a life a show of strength? Let’s look at it different ways. Not to Jesus! His core message for believers was love, mercy. So, if you’re pro-life and pro-death penalty, you’ve got an inconsistency. And if you argue, “well fetuses are innocent, and these people are guilty,” I send any Christian back to the source. Did Jesus say you decide who lives and dies? But that’s politics and religion, and it gets muddy. Ultimately, what about practicality? Does this policy work? Does it deter people from killing because they fear the penalty? Take a look. Graph of states and homicide rates where the death penalty is in effect; more killing, not less. So, if it doesn’t deter, is it justice, is it fairness under law? There has been constant scrutiny in the courts since Furman v. Georgia in the 70s; legal debates about how the punishment is carried out mainly, lately mostly about which drugs should be used. However, if you look at the numbers, the story of unfair application emerges, and it’s not as simple as blacks get it the most. On one level, blacks and whites are about the same percentage of the prison population and of death row. Of course, you have a lot more whites than blacks in the country but that gets complicated. Go deeper. When do we find a murder worthy of this penalty? Half of homicide victims are African-American but the death penalty is way more prevalent when the victim is white. And if you look at what happens when a black person kills a white person: 290 executions. White person kills a black person: 21. 290. 21. The biggest obstacle to fairness? This penalty cannot be reversed. So, when there’s a mistake, then what? Well, have there been? Yeah, 166 exonerations since 1973. Well at least we haven’t ever killed anybody wrongly. We don’t know. Courts don’t take up cases of dead people, so we can’t say how many were killed in error by the United States, murdered, in that case. These factors have made the death penalty a vestige of a less-evolved society. How do we know? Look at the company we keep by having a policy like this; China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, and there we are, the United States. You are the company you keep. Even here, a society that is distinguished in part by violence, be honest, popularity of killing people has fallen, and we are now split, about 50-50, and that is the stage for this election. This President knows we are divided and he is pushing on prejudice. That’s what a demagogue does. Prove it. “Muslims, stay out! Brown folks, go home! If someone protests at a rally, knock them out. Insult the free press if you don’t like what they report.” And now the ultimate new appeal to harshness: here, we kill people. You won’t find a justification in the numbers, nor com…comfort in the law books or certainly the Good Book. This is about the soul of society. What do you want to be about? The instruction here is death begets the death…death begets death. Therefore, killing can be okay. The President sees this for what it is, and he likes it. Do you?