Chris Cuomo 2010 on the Cuomo family's political prospects: "Who am I, then, Fredo?"

Chris Cuomo 2010 on the Cuomo family's political prospects: "Who am I, then, Fredo?"

The fact that he went off on a guy for using an analogy he himself once used — on the air — proves, ironically, that he really is the Fredo of the Cuomo family.

No, just kidding. Andrew is Fredo. Granted, he’s the governor of New York while Chris is relegated to the ratings wasteland of CNN primetime, but that’s beside the point. The point is that there’s no question who the dimbulb in the family is.

In a weird way, though, this blast from the past supports Chris’s dubious claim to that nasty heckler that he believes “Fredo” is tantamount to the N-word to Italian-Americans. Although he treats it as taboo when it comes from someone outside the group, he appears to think it’s just fine for those inside the group to use it.

Cuomo was interviewed by Curtis Sliwa on his AM 970 radio show in January 2010 about whether his brother Andrew might seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

Sliwa said he dubbed the Cuomo family “la Cuomo Nostra.”

“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo.”

“Who am I, then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked in response.

“Yes, exactly,” Sliwa said. “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”

“La Cuomo Nostra” is waaaay more offensive than some dude calling him “Fredo” but Cuomo was probably friendly with Sliwa from way back when that interview happened and Sliwa too is Italian-American, i.e. “inside the group.” He had a double privilege in Chris’s mind to make mafia jokes.

Anyway, is anyone besides Cuomo of the opinion that “Fredo” is offensive to Italian-Americans? If you called *every* Italian you know “Fredo,” that would show prejudice in the same way that, say, calling every Latino you know “Jose” would. You’d be reducing individual people to a single ethnic identity. If you called someone Italian “Fredo” to insinuate that they’re part of the mob, that would show prejudice too — but no one would do that since Fredo is the most ineffectual gangster in “The Godfather.” He’s literally the last fictional mobster anyone would reach for as a cultural reference to imply that someone is a sinister, cunning criminal racketeer.

But it’s not prejudiced to reach for “Fredo” as an analogy when all you mean to convey is that someone is the weak link in their family, which is clearly what Cuomo’s heckler was going for. It wasn’t an ethnic thing, it was a “you seem not so bright and your achievements pale by comparison to your relatives” thing. In fact, another guy who’s frequently compared to Fredo Corleone and who’s not Italian-American jumped into the debate last night to reassure Chris that he was merely being called stupid, not insulted on the basis of ethnicity:

And thus it came to be that a member of the Trump family produced the first self-deprecating tweet in family history. This bizarre episode with Cuomo was worth it if only for that.

Via the Free Beacon, enjoy a short highlight reel of Cuomo’s CNN colleagues using this terrible slur in the past.

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