john phillips chris cuomo
CNN anchor urges Trump to denounce 'kooks'
01:18 - Source: CNN

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John Phillips dismissed the alt-right as "kooks"

Chris Cuomo said denouncing the group is part of Trump being a leader

CNN  — 

While President-elect Donald Trump has yet to denounce the alt-right by name, CNN’s Chris Cuomo says he should.

“It’s about being a leader,” Cuomo said on “New Day” Tuesday. “You denounce things that are wrong. That’s what leaders do.”

He was responding to CNN political commentator John Phillips, who supported how Trump denounced “racism of any kind” after an alt-right leader urged people at a Trump victory gathering to “hail Trump” and “hail our people!” Trump did not, however, condemn the alt-right directly.

“We know the political game that his opponents try to use against him, which is they want Trump’s name in the same headline as these kooks,” Phillips said.

But Cuomo and CNN political commentator Christine Quinn were not satisfied with that answer.

“You don’t think he would come out and denounce them the way he does anybody?” Cuomo asked. “He’ll denounce The New York Times by name.”

Or the cast of ‘Hamilton,’” Quinn added.

Quinn also said it isn’t okay for Phillips to simply dismiss members of the alt-right as “kooks.”

“‘Kooks’ is like your aunt you’re going to see at Thanksgiving… who wears a rain hat inside,” she said. “These people aren’t kooks. They’re a dangerous, racist, anti-Semitic group of people who are attacking the core values of America… [Trump] has an obligation to all Americans to stand up and denounce this group.”

Phillips and Quinn then went back and forth on Phillips’ question about whether Quinn really believes that Trump is a white supremacist. Quinn didn’t give a simple yes or no, and Cuomo opted to end things there.

“You want to get a cheap political score by having somebody call him a ‘bigot’ or a ‘racist’ because that’s going to go crazy in the news cycle,” Cuomo said.

“You denounce things not just because you’re looking for a label,” he concluded. “It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s a bigot. It’s that he denounces it.”