Out cable news host Anderson Cooper responded to criticism that CNN gave Donald Trump a platform to tell lies, use racist language, and belittle a woman he sexually assaulted by telling non-Republican viewers, “Do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”
CNN caught flack for its televised town hall with Trump Wednesday night – which USA Today called “CNN’s lie-a-palooza” – where he lied that the 2020 election was “rigged” against him and expressed support for the January 6 rioters while refusing to apologize for the angry mob calling for Mike Pence‘s death. Pence “did something wrong,” Trump claimed, by refusing to reject the results of the 2020 election in his largely ceremonial role of presiding over the Senate as it accepted each state’s electoral votes.
Trump called the police officer who shot January 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt a “thug” as she tried to climb through a shattered window into the Speakers Lobby in Congress. That officer is Black.
Trump called E. Jean Carroll – who he sexually assaulted in the 90s – a “whack job.” A jury had just found him liable for the sexual assault as well as defamation against Carroll earlier in the week and ordered him to pay her $5 million in damages.
“What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky panky in a dressing room?” he said, referring to sexual assault.
Trump didn’t even show respect to the rightwing journalist who moderated the event, Kaitlan Collins, who used to work for Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller. She did try to fact-check Trump a few times, and he called her a “nasty woman” in response.
The audience was made up of Republican voters who cheered Trump’s lies throughout the event and laughed as he attacked people, with one person even shouting, “You did awesome, Trump!” after the event.
CNN faced criticism for giving Trump that free platform hosted by a sympathetic journalist in front of a live audience full of his supporters. And Cooper, apparently, was the CNN employee charged for explaining away the network’s decisions.
Cooper noted that Trump lied many times during the town hall, which he called “disturbing.” He also said that it was “disturbing” to hear the audience “laugh and applaud his lies,” but then he said that the audience had people who “love their kids and go to church,” as if that said anything about their character.
“I understand the anger about that,” Cooper said. “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 front runner for the Republican nomination for president. And according to polling, no other Republican is even close.”
“That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be president of the United States in less than two years,” he said. CNN’s critics have said that CNN’s actions are only helping Trump get to the White House by giving him a huge platform and refusing to fact-check all of his lies.
“And that audience that upset you? That’s a sampling of about half the country,” Cooper stated incorrectly. The audience was made up of people who intend to vote in the GOP primary next year that the New Hampshire GOP helped CNN find. In 2020, fewer than 20 million people – or about six percent of the population – voted in the GOP primary.
“They are your family members, your neighbors, and they are voting, and many said they’re voting for him.”
Then Cooper got smug.
“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 gonna stop him.’ Well, it hasn’t so far,” he said.
“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 concluded. “Do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”
Many people on social media disagreed with his opinion.