* Longtime television newsman with CNN
* Consistently promotes leftwing narratives in his broadcasts
* Smeared conservative Tea Party activists as people engaged in “tea-bagging”
* Repeatedly voiced his deep contempt for President Donald Trump
Anderson Hays Cooper was born on June 3, 1967 in New York City. He is the son of the late author/actor/screenwriter Wyatt Emory Cooper and the heiress/cultural icon Gloria Vanderbilt. Through his mother’s lineage, Cooper is a descendent of the famous industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt.
During his childhood, Cooper worked as a model for Macy’s and Ralph Lauren, and he appeared on The Tonight Show with his mother in 1970.
Although he was just 10 years old when his father died, Cooper was raised in a comfortable upbringing in Manhattan and graduated from the Upper East Side’s prestigious Dalton School in 1985. That same year, he contracted malaria on a trip to Zaire, and he later wrote that the continent of Africa was both “a place to forget, and to be forgotten in.”
Cooper served several summers as a college intern for the CIA before earning a B.A. degree in Political Science from Yale University in 1989. After college, he worked briefly as a waiter and as a fact-checker (in 1990) for Channel One News, a broadcast that reached U.S. middle schools and high schools. According to Britannica.com: “During this time [Cooper] forged a press pass and traveled to Southeast Asia, where he self-produced coverage of the political turmoil in Myanmar (Burma). Channel One aired these news pieces and later made Cooper its chief international correspondent.”
In 1994 Cooper was hired by ABC, where he later became co-anchor of World News Now. In 2000 he moved on to host The Mole, a reality-TV show on ABC.
CNN hired Cooper as a reporter in 2001, and two years later he became anchor of Anderson Cooper 360° (abbreviated as AC360) while still also contributing to CNN’s “NewsNight.” His profile was raised in 2005 because of his impassioned reporting on the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
While still employed by CNN, Cooper joined the CBS program 60 Minutes as a contributor. From 2011 to 2013 he was the host of a daytime talk show called Anderson, later known as Anderson Live,.
Cooper also wrote and co-wrote various books such as: Dispatches from the Edge, a 2006 memoir in which he reflected on his personal life; The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss (2016, co-written his mother); and Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty (2021, co-written with Katherine Howe). In 2016, Cooper appeared in a documentary titled Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper.
Openly gay, Cooper had a relationship with French businessman Benjamin Maisani that ended in 2018 after 10 years. The couple had two children, Sebastian Luke-Maisani-Cooper (born 2022) and Wyatt Emory Cooper (born 2020).
Cooper is a reliable promoter of the left-wing narratives of the day. His usual modus operandi is not to attack Republicans directly, but instead to try to appear to be above the fray while steering media coverage in such a way that it favors the Democratic Party. An exception to this was how Cooper treated then-President Donald Trump from 2017-21 — consistently attacking him by name, especially in the twilight of his presidency.
During the April 14, 2009 airing of Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen stated that Republicans were “searching for their voice” in the aftermath of various electoral setbacks. Cooper, in turn, quipped sardonically: “It’s hard to talk when you’re tea-bagging.” That remark was intended to demean the increasingly popular conservative Tea Party movement, by conflating its name with a vulgar slang term for the sexual practice of placing one’s testicles into the mouth of another person.
In the middle of the Trump presidency, Cooper spent a great deal of time on-air with then-attorney Michael Avenatti, who became famous as a Trump critic appearing 254 times on cable TV in a single year. Avenatti represented porn star Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), who claimed that she had had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006, and that before the 2016 presidential election Trump had persuaded her to sign a $130,000 Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) denying the affair. In 2018, with Avenatti representing her, Daniels sued to try to set aside the NDA; she also sued Trump for defamation.
On March 25, 2018, during a co-hosting gig at 60 Minutes, Cooper gave Daniels an opportunity to discuss the alleged Trump payoff, which the program described as “the most talked about ‘hush agreement’ in history, with potential legal and political implications for the president.” According to 60 Minutes, Trump’s attorneys were “now threatening [Daniels] with financial ruin, saying she has to pay $1 million every time she violates her agreement to stay silent. But that didn’t stop her from coming on 60 Minutes.”
Cooper hosted Avenatti on numerous occasions, providing him a platform to launch sometimes sensational attacks on Trump. For example, on August 22, 2018, Avenatti accused Trump of having violated campaign-finance laws. On May 9, 2018, Avenatti accused then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen of having accepted $500,000 from a company with ties to a Russian oligarch in the aftermath of the 2016 election.
Avenatti’s story ended in disgrace when he was disbarred for criminal activity. In June 2022, he was sentenced to four years in prison for having cheated Ms. Daniels out of her rightful book proceeds. Before that, he was convicted of identity theft, wire fraud, and extortion.
In July 2018, Cooper stated that Trump’s July 16 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president.” Specifically, Cooper was outraged by Trump’s assertion, during the event, that he had no reason to believe that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election — directly contradicting the claims of U.S. intelligence agencies that had accused Russia of meddling in the election.
Days later on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert said to Cooper: “You called Trump’s performance disgraceful.” Cooper, in turn, clarified and doubled-down on his remarks. “I said the most disgraceful performance by an American president on a world stage in my lifetime,” he stated, eliciting loud cheers from the audience. “It just popped out. I’m not saying it proudly or gleefully. It just popped out. The first thing I said as soon as the press conference was done, it just sort of popped out of my mouth.”
In the “Keeping Them Honest” segment of AC360‘s October 23, 2018 episode, Cooper denounced the Trump administration’s claim that the massive migrant caravan which was moving northward through Mexico and toward the U.S. southern border, may have included numerous criminals and/or terrorists with malicious intent. “We’re not showing wall-to-wall video of that caravan itself,” said Cooper, “because whatever you think about the people in it, there’s no evidence they are, as the administration suggested, an invading army infiltrated potentially by terrorists moving on the U.S. border.”
Between October 22 and November 1, 2018, sixteen packages containing pipe bombs were mailed to several Democratic Party politicians and other prominent critics of President Trump. The recipients included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, John Brennan, James Clapper, George Soros, Tom Steyer, Robert De Niro, and the headquarters of the CNN television network. On October 24, President Trump delivered a speech in which he denounced the attempted acts of terrorism:
“Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy, itself. No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion, or control. We all know that. Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted. We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony. We can do it. We can do it. We can do it. It’ll happen. More broadly, there’s much we can do to bring our nation together.
“For example, those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. Have to do that. The language of moral condemnation and destructive routine, these are arguments and disagreements that have to stop. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often. It’s done all the time. Got to stop. We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property. There is one way to settle our disagreements. It’s called: peacefully at the ballot box. That’s what we want. That’s what we want.
“As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. They’ve got to stop. Bring people together.”
Later that same evening on AC360, Cooper played the foregoing remarks by Trump and then issued a harsh critique of the President:
“That’s the President speaking in Wisconsin. Speaking quite hypocritically, I just have to say. He talked about explosive devices being sent to former government officials. He made no mention of an explosive device sent to this building behind me. The headquarters of CNN. A news organization he routinely attacks. He calls reporters the enemy of the American people. And, yet, he said it’s the media’s fault for the kind of reporting that media organizations have been doing. What happened today was an act of terror. Terror designed to kill or maim, to scare, or to silence. […]
“What the President said at the top of the hour about today’s attempted bombings is notable for what he left out. Namely, any of the intended victims. To President Trump, a former secretary of state and two ex-presidents are, in his words, merely former high-ranking government officials. He gave no names, nothing to indicate he sees them as individual human beings and distinguished former public servants. As two former presidents of the United States.
“He also made what appears to be a first attempt at something familiar, putting the perpetrator and victim on equal footing. […] He also said at the rally tonight that politicians should stop vilifying one another. I mean, the President has called opponents he doesn’t [like,] ‘evil.’ I mean, he calls Maxine Waters ‘low I.Q.’ I mean, the idea that he is not the — I mean, you know, you talk in past administrations about presidents having a bully pulpit. He literally uses it as a bully pulpit. […] And in fact, the only thing he said right about the media was that the media needs to be nicer to him, essentially.”
During the AC360 broadcast of March 15, 2019 — in the aftermath of two mass shootings that had killed a combined 51 Muslims at a pair of mosques in New Zealand, Cooper and his guests repeatedly attempted to link President Trump to the gunman responsible for the aforementioned carnage on the opposite side of the globe.
Jim Acosta, for instance, asserted that the language in a manifesto that the gunman had written “was describing the President as … sort of a hero to people who identify with their white heritage.” “[W]hat was also striking … in that manifesto,” Acosta added, “was that the killer was using terms like ‘invaders’ and ‘invasion’ when talking about immigration and the immigration issue — almost the same kind of language that the President was using earlier today when he was vetoing that legislation up on Capitol Hill.”
Another guest on the program, columnist Max Boot, said of Trump: “He has done and said a lot of things that are very congruent with the kind of ideology that these white supremacists actually have.” While the supremacists’ rhetoric was not “exactly the same” as Trump’s, added Boot, “there is enough overlap there that they take inspiration from his words.”
A third guest on the program, political commentator and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, offereda similar perspective: “I don’t think you can blame Donald Trump for this attack, [but] I think you can blame Donald Trump for really trafficking in bigotry and, you know, Islamophobia, wanting to ban all Muslims as he said during the campaign.” “They [Trump and the mass shooter] have maybe some things in common in terms of how they think about people,” added Powers.
Later in the program, Cooper criticized President Trump for not having explicitly condemned white supremacy. “[R]ather than just saying I condemn all forms of something,” said Cooper, the President should “get specific, at least to try to make it clear to people who are using his name to, to, you know, push their own racist ideology.”
The discussion ended with Boot alleging that because “Donald Trump…is really an Islamophobe,” “anti-Islamic sentiment finds a receptive audience in a lot of his base.” And Trump, added Boot, “doesn’t want to challenge…their prejudices.”
On June 24, 2019, Cooper interviewed author E. Jean Carroll on AC360, providing her an opportunity to elaborate upon her highly publicized claim that Donald Trump had raped her in a dressing room during the 1990s. The interview soonb took a bizarre turn, however, as NewsBusters.com noted: “After telling the host that there was ‘penetration’ in the assault, [Carroll] added, ‘I was not thrown on the ground and ravished which the word rape carries so many sexual connotations. This was not sexual.’ Cooper seemed clearly confused by this. Carroll then added, ‘I think most people think of rape as being sexy.’” “Cooper seemed so unnerved by the exchange that he immediately cut to break and talked over her,” Newsbusters reported.
On the December 30, 2019 edition of AC360, Cooper hosted singer Linda Ronstadt, a woman of Mexican ancestry, who took the opportunity to compare Trump to Adolf Hitler because of his hardline immigration stances. When Cooper noted that Rondstadt had recently compared Trump’s America to “the Weimar Republic and Germany,” and that “you sort of see parallels between then and now,” the singer replied:
“Well, great parallels. I mean, the intelligentsia in Berlin and the literati and all the artists were just busy doing their thing, and there were a lot of chances as Hitler rose to power, there were a lot of chances to stop him, and they didn’t speak out. And then the industrial complex thought that they could control him once they got him in office, and of course he was not controllable.
“By the time he got established, he put his own people in place and stacked the courts, and did what he had to do to consolidate his power. And we got Hitler and he destroyed Germany. He destroyed centuries of intellectual history, forward and backward, you know, the people like Beethoven and Goethe and Thomas Mollen became jokes. They became Nazi laughingstocks.
“If you read the history, you won’t be surprised. It’s exactly the same. Find a common enemy for everybody to hate. I was sure that Trump was going to get elected the day he announced, and I said that he’s going to be like Hitler, and Mexicans are going to be the new Jews. And sure enough, that’s what he delivered, you know.”
On February 14, 2020, Cooper hosted ABC’s former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson, who smeared Trump while endorsing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s quixotic presidential run. “Sam Donaldson,” said Cooper, “has spent years has a prominent White House correspondent, anchor for ABC News, never strayed from the ethic that journalists should not take sides and should at all cost, avoid endorsing political candidates. Sam Donaldson has retired from the news business and now he has publicly endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the Democratic nomination.”
“Well, because I think Mike Bloomberg is best suited to take on Donald J. Trump this November and beat him. And that’s something I think is very important for the country. You’re right. When I was a working reporter in Washington for 52 years, I never did anything like this. I never gave any money to candidates. I didn’t even register for a political party. But when they threw me out at age 80, six years ago, I was free to do this. And I think it’s very important now. We are in the grip, Anderson, of a sick, ignorant man. He’s mean, he’s corrupt. And if we don’t get this right, we may lose the things that have made this country the best place to live in the world and that shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan used to talk about, which was the envy of the world. So I’m in it.”
On June 1, 2020, after then-President Donald Trump crossed the street from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had recently been set on fire by race rioters, Cooper took the opportunity to compare Trump to a Latin American caudillo. “It’s like in some small country that’s taken over by some low-level lieutenant — you know, low-level colonel who gets on the airwaves and declares himself the law and order president,” Cooper said.
During the July 14, 2020 broadcast of AC360, Cooper mocked Trump as an “artificially tan man” who was indifferent to the suffering of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. After Trump provided an update from the White House on the continuing effects of the pandemic, Cooper said the President had delivered a “meandering screed [that] was not close to anything one would expect or accept of a President, but that shouldn’t surprise us.” “We listened to this man muse and meander, rant and regurgitate the same tired tropes and untruthful claims,” added Cooper. “We watch him boast and brag and preen, do that odd thing with his nose when he sucks in air very loudly and none of it surprises us. That is how far we have fallen.”
During the same broadcast, Cooper also said of Trump:
On August 21, 2020, Cooper and leftist CNN contributor Nina Turner took issue with President Trump’s recent assertion that the recently completed Democratic National Convention had been “the darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history,” and that Democrats had “spent four straight days attacking America as racist and a horrible country that must be redeemed.”
Said Turner in response to Trump’s comments:
“Are you reading my mind, Anderson? I mean, the country does need to be redeemed. I don’t know which convention he was looking at, though, but this country definitely needs to be redeemed. This country is racist — it’s rooted in racism. When we talk about the story about immigration, it’s not a pretty picture. It is a country that was founded on the backs and the blood and the sweat and the tears of enslaved Africans … It is a nation that stole the land from indigenous people. I mean, come on, we’re trying to get there to those high ideals, but we’re not quite there yet, so I’m not surprised that President Trump would paint the Democratic convention in that way. That is what he does. He is delusional if he thinks that it is okay to write revisionist history. It’s not okay for him to do it as a Republican, and it’s not okay for Democrats to do it either, Anderson.”
During the September 24, 2020 telecast of AC360, Cooper gave New York Times columnist Tom Friedman a platform from which to blast Trump as a would-be dictator. The episode aired shortly after White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had said that Trump would accept the results of a “fair and free election” for U.S. President in November. But that did not satisfy Friedman, who grossly distorted Trump’s actual position on the election. “I’m terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America’s potential second civil war in its history,” Friedman said. “The president of the United States has told us, ‘I either win the election or delegitimize the election.’ When you have a president without shame backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity and by social networks in conspiracy theories, behind them are a lot of armed people, if you aren’t frightened by this you are not paying attention.”
When Cooper asked Friedman how civil tumult could be avoided, Friedman replied: “If Joe Biden wins the election you have nothing to worry about,” the columnist said.
On September 29, 2020, Cooper excoriated Trump for his recent performance in a heated presidential debate: “I don’t think we have seen a president of the United States completely lacking in shame. I mean, just shameless and obesely immoral. I mean, there’s not a moral fiber in this man. … You cannot have watched that debate … and be proud of our president.”
The day after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, Cooper gave history professor Doris Kearns Goodwin a platform from which to compare Democrat Joe Biden to Republican Abraham Lincoln. When Cooper asked Goodwin what could be done to help Americans unite and “bounce back” from the rancor of the Trump era, the professor said that “history tells us that leadership can make a big difference,” as demonstrated by “Lincoln’s second inaugural” and its “message of reconciliation.” Added Goodwin:
“I think that’s what we’ve got to hope for if President — the presidency goes to Joe Biden — he begins to talk about the fact that he knows how difficult this is but he’s going to try to reconcile us. That overwhelming spirit I think, on the part of the American people, is to say we have to move in a different direction. One might have thought COVID would have been the kind of crisis that would have allowed us to experience it together as sometimes a war does. You need some sort of equivalent of a war, without a war hopefully. But I think the desire is there on the part of the American people, the desire to trust again in the government. The numbers of people who voted in this election are a good sign, because maybe the more people vote, they’ll feel engaged, they’ll feel participants, not spectators, and they’ll demand somehow that we get a Congress that can work together.”
At one point in the discussion as well, Goodwin said that Republicans needed to placate Democrats: “[Y]ou heard Joe Biden talk about the importance of being president of all the party, not stoking the divisions, listening to the other sides. We need that so badly, not just from the candidates. This will be a real test of the Republican Party and their leaders right now.”
On December 7, 2020 — the anniversary of Imperial Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the U.S. entry into World War II — Cooper said that President Trump was “AWOL” in “the fight against COVID.” He said this even though Trump had spearheaded the successful “Operation Warp Speed” effort to develop vaccines to treat COVID-19. Among Cooper’s extended remarks were the following:
“Seventy-nine years ago today, the country was reeling from the loss of 2,403 American lives at Pearl Harbor. Those deaths stunned the nation. There was understandable outrage and fury over the attack. President Roosevelt declared war on Japan the next day, called it a date which will live in infamy. Two thousand four hundred three American deaths at Pearl Harbor.
“Right now, the United States is averaging more than 2,200 COVID deaths a day. That’s nearly one Pearl Harbor every 24 hours. By April of next year at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects the pandemic will have killed upwards of a hundred thousand more people in this country then all the American troops killed in three and a half years at the Second World War, more than half a million dead. President Trump is the one who likened this to a war. He called himself in fact a Wartime President. That was a long time ago. Those were in the days when he wanted to be seen as a Commander-in-Chief leading the effort when he took over the coronavirus press briefings and then stopped listening to the doctors who actually knew what they were doing.
“Now, the President doesn’t seem concerned about being a wartime commander. If anything, he seems more like a deserter. He is absent. The American people have given him leave, voting him out at the ballot box, but he still has some weeks left. He has chosen to go AWOL. He has declined to join the fight against COVID. He is not rallying anyone to wear masks. He’s not talking about our dead, our hurt, our fear. Yes, it has been that way for months, I know. […]
“On Friday, the President signed an order claiming today National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It reads in part, ‘We solemnly honor and uphold the memory of the patriots who lost their lives that day.’ He had nothing to say, however, about the 2,879 Americans reported dead in this country of COVID the night before he signed that Proclamation, nor did he speak of the dead at his largely maskless rally in Georgia the very next day. How many of them might have survived if more had been done? If more of us wore masks, social distanced — if the President really was a Wartime Commander. Instead, he claims nothing more could have been done […]
“He certainly cares about getting credit for the vaccine. Less than a week after the election, he tweeted, quote, ‘As I long said, Pfizer and the others would only announce a vaccine after the election because they didn’t have the courage to do it before.’ When it comes to the vaccine, which is as far as his interest seems to extend, late today, The New York Times reported that the administration in late summer actually turned down the chance to buy more doses from Pfizer, which would have meant more vaccines available on day one. The administration denies it. The vaccine and could receive emergency use approval in a matter of days, but the President shows no interest in doing or even saying anything that might keep more people alive to get it. Certainly not helping the Biden — incoming Biden administration as much as they could.”
During the February 9, 2021 airing of AC360, Cooper likened former President Trump and the Trump supporters who had protested inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, to the bloodthirsty killers who carried out the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides of the 1990s. Said Cooper: “And we’ve seen it in Bosnia. We’ve seen it in Rwanda where radios was telling people … Hutus were telling the radio listeners that the Tutsi are cockroaches … getting them ginned up for genocide. And you see it in these videos [of January 6] where people who claim they are patriots are in the face of a police officer calling him … as we’re seeing it right there … gouging out the eye of one … squeezing one in … suffocating one in a doorway.”
Cooper’s guest on the program, then-Rep. Adam Kinzinger — an Illinois Republican who detested Trump — agreed with the host, lamenting that “we’ve picked tribes in this country” in which anyone “not in your tribe” is “seen as the enemy.”
After the death of the iconic conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on February 17, 2021, AC360 featured a pre-recorded segment in which correspondent Randi Kaye said that “for decades, Limbaugh filled the airwaves with lies and conspiracy theories, racist and misogynistic comments” that “turned him into a national hero for the right and made him a very rich man.’” CNN media analyst Bill Carter also joined Cooper and stated stated that Limbaugh had spent his career giving voice to a myriad of “mean-spirited, nasty views” that allegedly appealed to the conservative mind.
On April 29, 2021, Cooper gave fellow CNN commentator Walter Kamau Bell a forum in which he could smear America as a systemically racist nation. “We have to understand that this country was built on racism,” said Bell, “and, currently, racism is running this country in many ways. And you look at, like, the policing system, and you look at the mass incarceration system, and you look at how schools in black neighborhoods and Latinx neighborhoods are not as well-funded as schools in white neighborhoods. So the system of America is racist, and that benefits people.”
After a November 30, 2021 mass shooting that killed four people at Oxford High School in Michigan, Cooper read from a tweet in which U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut had written: “Driving home tonight, I thought about Republicans’ floor speeches tonight on the ‘sanctity of life.’ And how this concern for ‘life’ apparently doesn’t extend to the kids who were shot today in a school in Michigan. So I turned the car around, and went to the Senate floor.” Cooper then played clips from Murphy’s Senate speech in which he had said that: (a) school shootings are “a choice made by the United States Senate to sit on our hands and do nothing while kids die”; and (b) “It doesn’t happen anywhere else other than the United States. It is a choice. There are policies in place that allow for this to continue.”
Interviewing Murphy directly during the same episode, Cooper said: “You focus on what you see as the disconnect between – in the argument for the sanctity of life when it comes to abortion rights, and then, not applying it the same way to the killing of kids.” Murphy replied that “it certainly appears that Republicans give up on kids once they’re born.”
On January 1, 2022, The Big Lead reported that Cooper, for the second consecutive year, was intoxicated on-air during CNN’s live New Year’s Eve broadcast.
NewsBusters.com accused Cooper of hosting a veritable “infomercial” to benefit U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on March 13, 2022, when the CNN host threw a series of softball questions at the Biden cabinet member. In a segment about an infrastructure bill, for instance, Anderson described Buttigieg as: “40 years old, a Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and former Navy Reserve officer who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Now he’s dealing with a pandemic-related supply chain crisis and trying to ensure that hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are well-spent on aging transportation systems in desperate need of repair.”
Moreover, Cooper stated that although the American Society of Civil Engineers had recently given the U.S. a grade of C-minus on the quality of its infrastructure, the Society was hopeful that Buttigieg and the Biden administration would be able to raise that grade to a B. Cooper then said to Buttigieg: “Have you ever gotten a B in your life? You strike me as the kind of guy who hasn’t gotten a lot of Bs in your life.”
On April 6, 2023, Republican state legislators in the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to expel two black House Democrats — Justin Jones and Justin Pearson — because of their participation in the previous week’s storming of the state capitol building by gun control activists, where the Democrats had led chants with a bullhorn and disrupted the floor session which was in progress. As the Daily Wire reported: “Capacity [during the disruption] was limited but protesters chanted anti-gun slogans and screamed ‘You are fascists!’ outside the chamber…. When Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) spoke, the crowd outside the chamber screamed ‘F*** you, fascists!’ […] Pearson and Jones both made brief appearances outside the chamber where they encouraged protesters. Jones told the crowd that the influence of the NRA needed to be shut out of Tennessee. The two Democrats appeared to enjoy the attention with both smiling and Pearson bowing to the crowd.” “During his [subsequent] defense,” the Daily Wire added, “Pearson … attempted to make the debate about race, suggesting that Tennessee Republicans were racist and invoking ‘black women who stood at the cross’ when Jesus was crucified.”
The next evening — April 7, 2023 — Cooper interviewed U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez regarding the Tennessee matter. Said Cooper: “I wanted to ask you about what we saw in Tennessee last night. Three legislators who took part in a protest on the floor of the statehouse, not with protesters, but on the actual floor. They had a bullhorn which clearly a violation of the rules of decorum. Not something legislators normally do, or would, you know, make sense to have legislators do for good order of actually hearing people’s arguments? That being said, the punishment for two of them was to be expelled. How do you see that? Do you think that really was about the rules of decorum or something else?”
Ocasio-Cortez replied: “We know that that it absolutely was not. This is about the fascist takeover of our state houses that Republicans have invested in in the last several decades. This is about a naked abuse of power. This is about disenfranchising Democrats in states where there is extreme levels of voter suppression, and it was also about racism. It was deeply about racism, from the comments the absolutely disrespectful and denigrating comments made to the black members of the Tennessee House to the fact that they that these Republicans voted to expel, after charging three of these members, they expelled two black male legislators, and they voted to acquit in a way, or they voted to not expel the sole white woman, Rep. Gloria Johnson, who has been a phenomenal ally.”
Twenty-four hours after CNN had aired a May 10, 2023 town hall with former President Donald Trump, Cooper began his May 11 television broadcast by characterizing Donald Trump as an evil man, a habitual liar, a sexual abuser, a misogynist, and a racist — while simultaneously casting Trump’s supporters as the benighted enablers of his wickedness:
“Good evening. Before we begin with tonight’s broadcast, I want to say something about what we witnessed at last night’s town hall. 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. And I get it. It was disturbing. It was disturbing to see and hear that person refer to a black law enforcement officer as 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 Q-Anon 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. 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 a woman [E. Jean Carroll] who, according to a jury of his peers, he sexually abused and defamed.
“As good a job as Kaitlan Collins did trying to fact-check him, it is impossible to fact-check fully because 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 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. 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. 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. You have every right to be outraged today, 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. 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.'”