CNN vet Anderson Cooper called the network’s May 10 presidential town hall event with Donald Trump “disturbing,” and told viewers that they “have every right to be angry and never watch this network again.”
“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,” Cooper said during the opening monologue of his CNN show “Anderson Cooper 360°.”
However, “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,” Cooper said, defending the network’s decision to give Trump a platform.
“According to polling, no other Republican is even close,” Cooper said. According to the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, Trump’s the preferred candidate for 62% of right-wing voters — a wide margin above No. 2, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had 20% support.
“Do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?” Cooper continued.
“If we all only listen to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite,” he added of making Trump go away.
He also took the opportunity to bash his own network’s decision to put mostly Republican voters in the audience.
“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 who, according to a jury of his peers, he sexually abused and defamed,” Cooper said.
Cooper continued of the town hall’s invited audience: “The 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.”
The longtime CNN host suggested Trump voters may be too sizeable to ignore. “That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be president of the United States in less than two years. It can happen again, it is happening again. He hasn’t changed and he is running hard,” Cooper said.
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