CNN’s Chris Cuomo got into a heated clash with a California restaurant owner who said he will only serve unvaccinated customers.
The CNN host and Italian restaurant owner Tony Roman butted heads on Wednesday night over the controversial stance taken by Huntington Beach’s Basilico Pasta e Vino restaurant.
In the interview, Roman said the stance was not “an anti-vaccine stand” and that it was, instead, “a pro-freedom stand.”
He added: “It’s an IQ test. Like I say to people when they ask me if they’re so blinded with their rage and their hate, I tell them, you know what, if you don’t understand it, maybe we should put up a sign that says you’re too stupid to come into the restaurant.”
The interview then descended into farce after Cuomo asked Roman if he had been vaccinated. First Roman wanted to know if the CNN host had been jabbed, to which Cuomo said he and his family had.
After revealing he had not had the vaccine, Roman hit out at Cuomo, adding: “You’re failing the IQ test. What you’re not getting, which I expected, is that this is not an anti-vaccine stand, it’s a pro-freedom stand. That’s what you’re not getting.”
When pushed about the benefits of the vaccine and protecting people, Roman said: “Maybe we should ask your brother about protecting people, right?”
With the off-the-cuff comment, Roman was alluding to the host’s brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has come under fire over his handling of the pandemic, namely the alleged undercounting of nursing home deaths from COVID-19.
Roman, again, reiterated his position that his decision was a “pro-freedom stand” and that it was “not political.”
He added: “If you come down here, you’re not going to see Trump flags flying over the roof. You’re not going to see campaign signs, or campaign slogans or political slogans ever. You’re only going to see pro-freedom messages and that’s it.”
Shortly afterward, Cuomo brought the farcical interview to an end and said: “Honestly, you sound like an idiot.” Roman then fired back: “And so do you.”
Roman has been vocal on social media about his disdain for COVID restrictions and in a July 28 Facebook post, branded those who had criticized the restaurant’s stance as “mini Gestapo traitors.”
He then said that he responded by erecting a large Godfather-inspired billboard ad, which read: “Leave the mask, take the cannoli.”
In another Facebook post shared on July 21, he shared a mocked-up picture of The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, which showed Clint Eastwood, President Joe Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom, respectively.
Under Eastwood, who was wearing an American flag as a cape, it read “American Patriot,” while under Biden it said “Zombie Joe.” Underneath Newsom it read “Gavin Pelosi.”
On July 28, California switched its guidance to recommending “universal masking indoors statewide.”
It added: “The COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious disease. Unvaccinated persons are more likely to get infected and spread the virus which is tough to buy.