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Anderson Cooper Justifies CNN’s Trump Town Hall: ‘It Showed It Can Happen Again, It Is Happening Again’

CNN Trump Town Hall
YouTube screenshot

Anderson Cooper on Thursday night addressed the waves of backlash that CNN has received for hosting a town hall with former president Donald Trump.

“You have every right to be outraged today, and angry, and never watch this network again,” Cooper said at the top of AC360. “But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person” — meaning, Trump — “go away?”

During Wednesday night’s live town hall — which was held in New Hampshire before a crowd of Republicans and undeclared voters planning to vote in the 2024 GOP primary — the former, twice-impeached and indicted president spent much of his time dodging questions and peddling conspiracies. He repeated the “rigged” 2020 election lie, said the Jan. 6 insurrection crowd was comprised of people “with love in their hearts,” and called CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins “a nasty person” (when she pressed him to answer a question about the classified documents he retained).

Trump also used the platform to attack writer E. Jean Carroll, whom he recently was found liable of sexually abusing and defaming.

All as swaths of the crowd alternately clapped, cheered, or laughed at his attempts at humor.

“Many of you have expressed deep anger and disappointment” at Trump’s behavior and CNN’s decision to give it a platform, Cooper said. “Many of you are upset that someone who attempted to destroy our democracy was invited to sit on the 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.”

“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,” Cooper reminded. “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 United States in less than two years.

“And that audience that upset you? That’s a sampling of about half the country,” he noted. “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 [Trump] since he left office,” Cooper posited. “Maybe you’ve been enjoying not hearing from him, thinking it cannot happen again, [that] 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.”

And CNN, Cooper seemed to be saying, was justified in making you aware of the above, even at the cost of rebroadcasting a steady stream of lies and vile words to 3.3 million viewers.

“After last night, none of us can say, ‘I didn’t know what was out there,’ ‘I didn’t know what was coming,'” Cooper concluded.

What do you think of Cooper’s on-air editorial?

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