U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9), co-chair of the Congressional Italian-American Delegation, strongly criticized President Donald J. Trump for invoking an Italian-American slur from The Godfather movies against CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and his brother New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!”
“Fredo” is apparently the younger Cuomo, whom Trump has repeatedly mocked by referencing the character played in the classic Francis Ford Coppola films by the late actor John Cazale.
“I’m smart,” the stepped-on and stepped-over weak son of Don Corleone wails heplessly at his older brother Michael, played by Al Pacino. Trump and his allies have employed the reference as a way of discrediting media personality Chris Cuomo, who nearly came to blows at one point last year with a backer of the president’s who called him “Fredo.”
“I’ll wreck your s-t,” Cuomo told the heckler, backing him down.
Cuomo identified the term as a slur.
Trump’s reference to “Fredo” similiarly did not amuse Pascrell.
“It isn’t enough that Trump degrades his office every day and acts like a lawless authoritarian,” said the congressman. “On top of that he insists on slurring Italian-Americans with a pernicious stereotype. I condemn his anti-Italian bigotry. If Trump is invoking betrayal, he must be thinking of how he has betrayed his own oath.”
The congressman has himself been the target of Italian-American slurs on the campaign trail in the past.
Pascrell years ago appeared in an interview with Stephen Colbert when the comic made fun of the Patersonian’s legislation targeting anti-Italian stereotypes by showing him a “re-cut” of The Godfather without “Italian stereotypes.” Colbert’s version lasted several seconds. “Well, that was a mistake,” Pascrell said.