CNN host Chris Cuomo is on vacation this week while he is being roped into the latest controversy embroiling his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo Prime Time, which usually airs at 9 p.m. EST, has been off the air because the host is spending time with his family and he plans to return next Monday, the show’s Twitter account reminded viewers on Tuesday. Cuomo’s colleague, Anderson Cooper, has been hosting that hour in his absence.
On Wednesday, multiple reports came out with sources saying Gov. Cuomo’s administration arranged special access to government-run coronavirus testing early in the pandemic. Among those who were said to have gotten tested by top officials was Chris Cuomo and his family. Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, characterized the allegations of preferential treatment as “insincere efforts to rewrite the past.”
Chris Cuomo announced he contracted COVID-19 on March 31 of last year, after which he began broadcasting his CNN program from his home. His wife and son then contracted the virus in April.
Asked to respond to the reports on Wednesday, a representative for CNN said Chris Cuomo’s actions were “not surprising” given the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would,” Matt Dornic, head of strategic communications for CNN, said in an email to the Washington Examiner.
Still, the fact that Chris Cuomo was off the air this week left him open to attacks by critics.
Cuomo is facing multiple investigations for his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic and for allegations of sexual misconduct by several women. The governor has denied any inappropriate behavior, although he apologized for making anyone feel uncomfortable, and refuses to resign under bipartisan pressure.
During the height of the pandemic, Chris Cuomo repeatedly interviewed his brother on his show, even admitting during one airing of “Cuomo Prime Time” last July that he’ll “never be objective” when covering the New York governor. His show’s ratings have been down in recent months compared to its 2020 numbers, according to a Fox News report last week.
CNN has since banned the younger Cuomo from covering his brother, with Chris Cuomo saying he “obviously … cannot cover” the allegations against Andrew Cuomo.