CNN’s Chris Cuomo was widely criticized on Twitter on Sunday night after he tweeted about the migrant caravan being tear-gassed, offering a defense of police in the situation by saying the “point is to not demonize the men and women in duty without cause.”
Many remarked that the comments from the news host were in line with the “Nuremberg defense” ― a plea in a court of law that a person, like a police officer or a member of the military, should not be held guilty for actions they carried out at the request of a superior officer or an official.
“I have seen lots of people, kids, elderly gassed. I have been gassed. It sucks,” Cuomo tweeted. “The situation sucks but the point is to not demonize the men and women in duty without cause and to address the problems that lead to them facing this overwhelming group of people who deserve help.”
I have seen lots of people, kids, elderly gassed. I have been gassed. It sucks. The situation sucks but the point is to not demonize the men and women in duty without cause and to address the problems that lead to them facing this overwhelming group of people who deserve help https://t.co/oz1OOw3NFi— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) November 26, 2018
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency on Sunday fired several canisters of gas at hundreds of migrants after they attempted to get through gaps or scale fences at the border crossing between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, California. The border crossing was subsequently shut down for several hours.
The use of the tear gas caused children from the caravan to scream and cough, The Associated Press reported. Another report indicated that the mayhem led to one woman collapsing unconscious and two babies sobbing from the gas.
Many journalists and supporters of the immigrants seeking asylum lambasted Cuomo for his argument:
today in politics: "you're a bad person if you use chemical weapons on children" has become up for debate https://t.co/INBFaN8iIU— Riley J. Dennis (@RileyJayDennis) November 26, 2018
What part of saying they gassed infants is without cause when they literally gassed infants. They demonized themselves. https://t.co/PFhMo4JUNC— Daniel José Older (@djolder) November 26, 2018
Fairly certain our men and women in duty know not to gas toddlers across a sovereign country's border. Military personnel have to be held accountable just like everyone else. https://t.co/qJs5qnJMUX— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) November 26, 2018
"just following orders" while gassing people has a history. https://t.co/qvpVvtWVkC— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) November 26, 2018
Nuremberg didn't buy that line either. https://t.co/aJwxT9jbcS— Ethan Slipher (@BatSkywalker) November 26, 2018
perhaps we should declare an official day of divulgence so all the TV talking heads who claim to be reasonable centrists can just come out and admit they're ultraconservative bootlickers https://t.co/ylOMcwgtZJ— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) November 26, 2018
On the other hand, perhaps we should roundly, loudly, and absolutely criticize people who were “just following orders” when they commit inhumane acts. It wasn’t an acceptable defense at Nuremberg and it isn’t now. https://t.co/6JVvhvgy1K— Boreal Tempest @ still Roevember!! (@Serisothikos) November 26, 2018
“Children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault.” —Geneva Protocols— Sarah Rose (@thesarahrose) November 26, 2018
It is an illegal order.
Cuomo tweeted quite a bit more on Sunday night, emphasizing that he did not agree with President Donald Trump’s immigration policy and that he wanted people to know that many law enforcement agents at the border are acting “out of pathos as much as out of a duty protect.”
“My point is just to say that all of CBP is not to blame. Find the facts of who did what and go from there. That’s what we are doing,” he wrote in one tweet.
Clarification: A previous version of this story suggested Cuomo is currently the host of “New Day.” He is the former host of “New Day,” and currently hosts “Cuomo Prime Time.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.