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President Donald Trump praised Rudy Giuliani and mocked CNN anchor Chris Cuomo during remarks at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, referring to the journalist as "Fredo," a pejorative reference to a weak-willed Italian American character in "The Godfather" saga.
"I think he was excellent," Trump said of Giuliani's heated interview with Cuomo last week. Trump's comments came during an appearance on Monday afternoon with Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore.
"I watched Rudy take apart Fredo," Trump said. "Fredo's performance was incompetent, Rudy took him apart."
"Rudy Giuliani took Fredo to the cleaners," he added.
Fredo Corleone is the ne'er-do-well brother of the powerful Italian mob family portrayed in "The Godfather" films and books. Cuomo got into a heated exchange with a man he accused of calling him "Fredo" in a now-viral video posted earlier this month, asserting that the term was a slur against Italian Americans.
Cuomo and Guiliani sparred last week in an interview on CNN, which eventually devolved into a shouting match, over allegations that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
During the interview, the former New York mayor called Cuomo an "enemy" and "sellout."
"Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?" Cuomo asked.
"No, actually, I didn’t," Giuliani said before saying the opposite.
"So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?" Cuomo asked moments later.
"Of course I did!” Giuliani said.
Democrats have launched an investigation into Guiliani and Trump’s involvement in Ukraine and whether they tried to press the Ukrainian government into aiding Trump’s reelection campaign by digging up dirt on an opponent. Democrats have also been demanding more information regarding a whistleblower complaint from a member of the intelligence community that is now the subject of a weeks-long standoff with the administration.
According to the New York Times and other outlets, the complaint stemmed from a July phone call during which Trump is said to have asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden's son's ties to a Ukrainian energy company. On Sunday, Trump confirmed with reporters that he invoked Biden during the July call but denied any wrongdoing.
"The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine," he said.