Anderson Cooper Grills Florida's Republican Attorney General About Support of State's LGBT Community
Cooper was not letting his source off easy.
During the one-on-one, Cooper grilled the politician, asking her numerous times if she believed her recent championing of the LGBT community was hypocritical considering her past comments about gays and lesbians in the state.
Starting by referencing a quote from Bondi, in which she said that “anyone who attacks our LGBT community will be gone after to the fullest extent of the law,” Cooper quickly followed up by confronting Bondi with the fact that many members of the Florida LGBT community that he spoke to did not have flattering views of the attorney general.
“I talked to a lot gay and lesbian people here yesterday who are not fans of yours and who said they thought you were being a hypocrite,” he said. “That you, for years, basically have gone after gay people. That you said in court that gay people, simply for fighting for marriage equality, were trying to do harm to the people of Florida.”
Cooper’s million dollar question was, “Do you really think you’re a champion of the gay community?”
Bondi defends herself, saying that as the state’s attorney general, her job is to defend the Constitution of Florida, adding that at the time there was a ban on same-sex marriage, passed by state voters.
“That’s what I was defending. I’ve never said I don’t like gay people. That’s ridiculous,” she said.
The two then went back and forth about her rhetoric in court, with Cooper stating that she used language harmful to the gay community, and Bondi retorting with the fact that she was arguing a case that defended the voters’ decision.
Bondi then said that she actually does not believe gay marriage would do harm to Florida.
“Of course not. I’ve never said that,” Bondi added. “Those words have never come out of my mouth. What we argued [in court] was it was in the constitution of the state of Florida.”
Cooper continued, pointing out that the current hotline in place for partners and family members to access information about the 49 who died in the attack would not be as useful without gay marriage – which, Cooper again pointed out, Bondi fought against – because there would be no spouses. Bondi argued that people who are not legally married yet, but are partners, are still being assisted in receiving information after the shooting.
Finally, Bondi put an end to the questions, telling Cooper that it’s about the “victims,” as the CNN correspondent reminded her that it’s about “gay and lesbian victims” before asking again if she believed what she’s doing is hypocritical.
“I’m not portraying myself as anything other than trying to help human beings who have lost their lives, who are right behind us right now in hospital beds, who have family members who aren’t getting the services they need,” Bondi responded. “I’m not championing anything other than Floridians. That’s what this is about. We’re about human beings.”
Still, Cooper pointed out that Bondi has never made it a point to discuss the LGBT community in a positive light, as he referenced the past year of her Twitter history in which she tweeted about National Dog Month and adopting pets from shelters.
“You know, it is Gay Pride Month. You’ve never even tweeted about Gay Pride Month,” he added.
Bondi’s rebuttal was that her website currently features an image of “hands clasped together, all different color rainbow hands,” which Cooper pointed out only just went up. Bondi then confirmed that the image did go up after the tragedy.
Although the pair ends on cordial terms, their spat didn’t exactly seem resolved, with Cooper telling Bondi that he was just relaying the message of gay and lesbian Floridians who he’s spoken to that feel they’re not represented.
Bondi reiterated that she is championing “human beings whose lives have been lost” and Florida residents.