After Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi aired her discontent with an awkward CNN interview where Anderson Cooper grilled her on her record on LGBT issues, Cooper dismantled her argument point by point on his Wednesday evening show.
Bondi was put on the defensive Tuesday after Cooper scrutinized her earlier defense of the state’s ban on gay marriage. The CNN host asked if there’s a “sick irony” to her acting like a “champion of the gay community” in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando after never speaking positively about LGBT people.
The Attorney General fired back on Wednesday, claiming in a radio interview that Cooper’s line of questioning only “encouraged anger and hate” and claimed CNN edited out the only topics she wanted to discuss: her advocacy for the victims’ families and the charity scams that pop up after tragedies.
But Cooper had the receipts. He held up pre-interview notes from a CNN producer and Bondi’s office, which doesn’t mention the scams, and said the interview was carried live, so it wasn’t edited.
“Let’s be real here,” Cooper said. “Miss Bondi’s big complaint seems to be that I asked in the first place in the wake of a massacre of gay and lesbian citizens about her new statements about the gay community and about her old ones.”
He continued: “For the record, my interview was not filled with any anger,” as Bondi claimed in the radio interview. “I was respectful before the interview, I was respectful during the interview and I was respectful after the interview.”
“I don’t know Pam Bondi personally, she seems like a nice person, actually. I don’t think she has hate in her heart,” Cooper said. “It’s my job to hold people accountable. And if on Sunday they talk about love and embracing ‘our LGBT community,’ I don’t think it is unfair to look at their record and see if they’ve spoken that way publicly before, which I’ve never heard her say.”
Cooper again recounted how Bondi signed off on a 2014 federal court brief that claimed allowing LGBT people to marry would cause “public harm” and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money “trying to keep gays and lesbians from getting the right to marry.”
Watch a clip of Cooper’s rebuttal via the Daily Beast: