But the real agenda is to win back the reputation he lost when CNN dismissed him for allegedly violating its journalistic standards by consulting with his brother, ex-New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo.
“Happy is probably not the right word,” Cuomo said, allowing that he does miss CNN. “I feel like I lost a sense of purpose for a while because of how things ended.” He allowed that he wants to get back into the role he previously had.
He wasn’t baited into disparaging his former home at CNN, even as Maher pointed out that ratings in Cuomo’s former time slot are down 53%.
“It’s a great organization and there are great people there,” Cuomo said. “I want good things for people there. I had a great team that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to.”
Maher asked about Andrew Cuomo’s state of mind.
“I’m supposed to say ‘Oh, he’s great.’ But that would be what you call bullshit. He has been in a struggle and I am proud of how he has handled himself.” Cuomo agreed with Maher that he never thought his brother’s downfall would be women, but noted, “You don’t foresee these kind of things.”
Cuomo readily admiited that he advised his brother throughout the scandal. “This is my brother. Obviously, I’m not objective.”
As for whether CNN’s decision to emphasize opinion over news was a good move, Cuomo claimed it was, and didn’t see it as a move to opinion.
“I see as a need to serve people’s interests,” he said. The reason for it is that former President Donald Trump “weaponized the truth.” Thus, Cuomo said, “Unprecedented risk will require unprecedented effort. It was risky to do what I did.” He added, “I’m not here to hide and get the check. You have to take the risks when it matters.”
That’s nothing personal, he added. “It is rough to be seen as an enemy. “I don’t wish him ill. I just want leaders to lead and tell the truth.”
Toward that end, Cuomo called for the end of the two-party system and a flowering of different agendas in a civil discussion. As a reference, Maher brought up Mario Cuomo, who infamously left a plane on the tarmac and declined to run for president despite some strong support.
Cuomo gave a revealing picture of his father as a way to illustrate what’s been lost in politics.
“Pop wasn’t afraid of losing. He came from nothing. He didn’t want to run for president. It wasn’t because we were in the mob. He didn’t run because he didn’t think he was good eough to be president. ‘I don’t believe I am the man for that job.’ He respected it, he respected what it means, and didn’t see it as an article of his own avarice.”
Cuomo himself said he shunned politics for media because “I think that I can make a difference,” saying politicians “are stuck in a game I don’t have to play.”
Maher’s panel guests were John McWhorter, associate professor at Columbia University, New York Times newsletter opinion writer, and host of the podcast “Lexicon Valley,” and Sam Stein, White House editor for Politico and MSNBC contributor.
Their discussion meandered a bit, covering the Biden/Manchin agreement on a new bill that includes climate actions and other issues, and whether the Jan. 6 congressional hearings will prompt the Dept. of Justice to empanel a grand jury to possibly bring indictments against Donald Trump.