“Anderson Cooper is a hell of a lot bigger than any male anywhere on network television,” Cuomo told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday, heaping praise on his network colleagues. “I would argue that Chuck Todd ain’t Jake Tapper. Jake Tapper has a much bigger footprint in politics than Chuck Todd does.”
Addressing the jab on 77 WABC Radio’s “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” Friday, Todd speculated that Cuomo’s remarks were motivated by a struggle for recognition.
“I just read it as somebody who wanted to defend the fact that nobody in broadcast television wanted to hire him I guess, or he couldn’t get the job that he wanted,” Todd said. “I don’t know what it was, but he was awfully defensive so he took shots at other people.”
Todd tried to remain aloof. “I don’t know the guy,” he said of Cuomo. “I’ve met him once. I don’t know much about him.”
Neither CNN nor Cuomo immediately responded to requests for comment.
Tapper serves as CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and has hosted “State of the Union” for nearly four years. Todd, who took over “Meet the Press” in 2014, called Tapper “probably one of my closest friends,” claiming his CNN buddy was angry over Cuomo’s comments.
“[If] you’re gonna promote somebody, promote somebody,” Todd said. “You don’t have to disparage somebody at the same time.”
Cuomo, brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, hosts his own primetime program on weeknights at CNN, competing with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Fox News’ Sean Hannity, whose shows air during the same hour.
On that matter, Cuomo had Todd’s sympathies.
“He’s up against two juggernauts at nine o’clock,” Todd said. “Nobody would be doing well in that time slot.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of years Tapper has hosted “State of the Union.” He was named to the position in 2015.