Chris Cuomo
© REUTERS/Mike Segar
File photo of CNN host Chris Cuomo
CNN's Chris Cuomo apparently forgot his own history of public aggression when he sparred on TV with a St. Louis man who said he feared for his life when he and his wife pointed guns at protesters marching by their home.

The on-air spat began with Cuomo asking Mark McCloskey, the Missouri lawyer who was videoed brandishing a rifle outside his home on Sunday, "How do you feel about becoming the face of political resistance to the Black Lives Matter movement?" McCloskey said he and his wife feared for their lives after a crowd of about 500 people broke through their neighborhood's iron gates and threatened to kill them and their dog.

"Any pretense of protests, as opposed to terrorism, ended when they broke through the gate," he said.

Cuomo asked repeatedly if the man had video evidence proving that the marchers approached his house or threatened to break in as they trespassed on the private road. McCloskey declined to respond directly, saying he didn't want to discuss his private security measures on television. He said his life has been ruined by the reaction to the incident.

The McCloskeys, who are white, became the target of a media firestorm after videos of the confrontation went viral. Kimberly Gardner, who was elected St. Louis prosecutor in 2016 with backing from a group funded by leftist billionaire George Soros, said her office is investigating the couple over the incident. She said she was alarmed that "peaceful protesters were met by guns and violent assault."

When McCloskey said the marchers used "violence and intimidation" to terrorize him, Cuomo replied, "You were the one pointing a loaded weapon at a group of people walking past, looking for the mayor's house as a point of protest."

But the CNN anchor has displayed a rather short fuse during his own public run-ins.

One such conflict occurred on April 12, when a 65-year-old bicyclist in Long Island, New York, allegedly saw Cuomo with two women and three children outside a home under construction in East Hampton. The man said he told Cuomo, whom he thought was supposed to be quarantined because he was infected with Covid-19, "Your brother (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo) is the coronavirus czar, and you're not even following his rules - unnecessary travel." The bicyclist said he filed a police report because Cuomo responded by threatening him, saying, "This is not the end of this. You'll deal with this later. We will meet again."

Cuomo lamented on his SiriusXM radio program the following day that being a celebrity prevents him from being able to "do you the way you guys do each other" when someone insults him. "I don't want some jackass, loser, fat-tire biker being able to pull over and get in my space and talk bullshit to me," he said.

At the time of the confrontation, Cuomo was still doing his CNN show while quarantined in his basement in South Hampton. He made his "official re-entry from the basement" as he walked upstairs to greet his family on April 20 in a video which has been ridiculed online because it came nearly a week after his spat with the cyclist in East Hampton.

The CNN host also was caught on video in a verbal altercation with a man at a bar in Long Island last August for calling him "Fredo," the name of a character in the 'Godfather' movies. At one point, Cuomo threatened to throw the man down the stairs. CNN issued a statement the next day saying, "Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him."

Cuomo was less supportive of McCloskey's defense claim: "You had the apprehension that something bad was going to happen to you, but nothing did. But to call it terrorism when the people are there protesting how the community is treated by the police is a little bit of reverse psychology at a minimum, is it not?"

McCloskey insisted that the protesters were coming toward him and his wife until he displayed the weapon. The couple's lawyer, Albert Watkins, said his clients support the message of Black Lives Matter and have defended the civil rights of black people during their legal careers.