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Watch: Tearful Cooper Claps Back After Trump's Haiti Diss

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jan 12, 2018

President Donald Trump's comments about Haiti and some countries in Africa may have taken an all-too-familiar turn into bizarro land with a gratuitous vulgarity (and Trump's subsequent denial of having hurled the profane insult, too, falls in line with a well-established pattern), but the response of CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper was unusually emotional.

According to CNN's own reportage, Trump was in a meeting with senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) about a plan to scale back the U.S. visa lottery. Durbin was explaining how the plan would affect Haiti when Trump allegedly blurted, "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." The president inveighed against "people from 'shithole' countries" and opined that the United States ought to be more open to immigration from Nordic climes.

Cooper, who is openly gay, took special exception at Trump's swipe at Haiti, which came the day before the eighth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that ravaged that country, Entertainment Weekly reported. Cooper covered the immediate aftermath of the quake from the scene eight years ago; Friday, the newsman raked Trump over the coals in a spirited defense of Haiti and its people.

EW quoted a tearful Cooper as saying that "the people of Haiti have been through more - they've been through more, they've withstood more, they fought back against more injustice than our president ever has."

Variety shared details on how Cooper also praised the Haitian people as possessing "dignity. It's a dignity many in this White House could learn from. It's a dignity the president, with all his money and all his power, could learn from, as well."

"You have to be to survive in a place where the government has often abandoned its people," Cooper said. "Where opportunities are few and where Mother Nature has punished the people far more than anyone should ever be punished."

Nor was Cooper circumspect when characterizing the president's remarks as "racist," The Hollywood Reporter noted.

"Perhaps the White House feels the president's remarks will be well-received in some parts of this country... but it doesn't make what he said any less ignorant or any less racist," Cooper declared. "Not racial. Not racially charged, racist.... Let's not pretend or dance around it. The sentiment the president expressed today is a racist sentiment."

Trump fired back after reports surfaced on the comments, which he allegedly made behind closed doors, but Sen. Durbin confirmed the president's comments, Time magazine reported. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly," Durbin affirmed.

Watch Cooper's emotional moment below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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