CNN anchor Anderson Cooper returned to his scorched-earth approach to former President Trump that has largely been absent since the 2022 ousting of the network’s anti-Trump president Jeff Zucker.
Cooper began his opening monologue on Thursday following CNN’s town hall with Trump the night before by addressing his audience’s reaction to the “disturbing” event without once saying the former president’s name.
“Many of you have expressed deep anger and disappointment. Many of you are upset that someone who attempted to destroy our democracy was invited to sit on a stage in front of a crowd of Republican voters to answer questions and predictably continued to spew lie, after lie, after lie,” he said.
“And I get it. It was disturbing,” Cooper continued. “It was disturbing to see and hear that person refer to a Black law enforcement officer a thug, an adjective he used many times to describe Black men, and called Kaitlan Collins, the moderator, ‘nasty,’ which is what he calls any woman who stands up to him. It was disturbing to hear him speak so highly of QAnon conspirators and insurrectionists who assaulted police officers and our democracy on January 6. And it was awful to hear him spread ridiculous lies about the election.”
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“And it was certainly disturbing to hear that audience, young and old, our fellow citizens, people who love their kids and go to church laugh and applaud his lies and his continued defamation of woman who according to a jury of his peers he sexually abused and defamed,” Cooper said, referring to this week’s jury verdict siding with Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll.
Cooper insisted that despite Collins’ attempts as moderator, trying to fact-check Trump is “impossible” since “he lies so shamelessly.”
“Now, many of you think CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak and I understand the anger about that – giving him the audience, the time, I get that. But this is what I also get; The man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night – that man is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president. And according to polling, no other Republican is even close,” Cooper said. “That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be President of the United States in less than two years. And that audience that upset you? That’s a sampling of about half the country. They are your family members, your neighbors and they are voting. And many said they’re voting for him.”
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He continued, “Now, maybe you haven’t been paying attention to him since he left office. Maybe you’ve been enjoying not hearing from him thinking it can’t happen again, some investigation is going to stop him – well, it hasn’t so far. So if last night showed anything, it showed it can happen again. It is happening again. He hasn’t changed and he is running hard.”
He continued, “You have every right to be outraged and angry and never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away? If we all only listen to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite. If lies are allowed to go unchecked, as imperfect as our ability to check them is on a stage in real time, those lies continue and those lies spread.”
The CNN anchor went on to urge his viewers to get politically active, telling them, “If you’re angry or upset, I understand, but you have the power to do something about it. You can actually get involved, you can make a difference whatever side of the aisle you’re on.”
“After last night, none of us can say, ‘I didn’t know what’s out there. I didn’t know what’s coming,'” Cooper added.
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Cooper’s liberal sermon was reminiscent of how CNN anchors sounded when the network was run by Zucker, who was forced to resign in scandal in February 2022.
Zucker’s successor, Chris Licht, vowed to restore the network’s journalistic credibility by rebranding the image it has developed in recent years as an anti-Trump, anti-Republican news organization. Cooper’s monologue torching Trump and his supporters at the town hall may be seen by some as a setback for Licht’s mission.