On Tuesday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper exposed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as a hypocrite on national television, taking Bondi to task for the argument her office used to oppose same-sex marriage, that allowing gay couples to wed would cause “significant harm” to the state of Florida.
Anderson noted that Bondi is now attempting to portray herself as an ally to the LGBT community after the horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub.
“I talked to a lot of gay and lesbian people here yesterday who are not fans of yours and who said that they thought you were being a hypocrite, that you for years have fought — you basically gone after gay people, said that in court that gay people simply by fighting for marriage equality were trying to do harm to the people of Florida,” said Anderson, adding, “To induce public harm, I believe was the term you used in court. Do you really think you’re a champion of the gay community?”[RELATED: Florida AG Says It’s Her Job To Defend Citizens From “Significant Public Harm” Of Gay Marriage]
Bondi insisted that she was “defending the constitution” and “what over 69 percent of the voters put in the constitution.”
Cooper later noted that, had Florida’s marriage inequality amendment not been struck down, “there would be no spouses [and] boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead would not be able to get information and would not be able, probably even to visit in this hospital.” “Isn’t there a sick irony that you, for years, were fighting that very idea?” Cooper asked her.
Bondi lashed out at CNN and Cooper on Wednesday, claiming they had deceptively edited the interview to make her appear as though she was trying to “encourage anger and hate.”
Despite her claim, the interview aired live on CNN on Tuesday afternoon.
Last night, Anderson Cooper responded to Bondi’s claim that she had been booked to speak about scams surrounding fundraising for victims, holding up his pre-interview notes as evidence. He also noted that the unedited interview aired in full on CNN and that he had no control over a cut-down version that was later shared on CNN’s website after the fact.
“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 that targeted gay and lesbian citizens about her new statements about the gay community and about her old ones.”
“For the record, my interview was not filled with any anger,” he added. “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. But what I think doesn’t matter, its my job to hold people accountable. If on Sunday a politician was talking love and embracing quote ‘our LGBT community’ I don’t think it’s unfair to look at their record and see if they have actually ever spoken that way publicly before which I never heard her say. The fact is that Attorney General Bondi signed off on a 2014 federal court brief that claimed married gay people would ‘impose significant public harm.’”
“Ms. Bondi is championing efforts to help survivors, but the very right that allows gay spouses to bury their loved ones, that’s a right that wouldn’t exist if she had her way,” he continued. “I think it is fair to ask about that.”
Cooper decided to re-air the entire interview with Bondi on his broadcast Wednesday after she said she wanted the full interview taken down or viewed in full.
Watch the last night’s segment below:
It also appears Bondi has been caught in a lie after she claimed to Cooper that the Attorney General’s page has “hands clasped together, all different-colored, rainbow-hands people.”
“I will say I have never really seen you talk about gays and lesbians and transgender people in a positive way until now,” Cooper said. “I read your Twitter history for a last year and you were tweeting about, you know, National Dog Month and National Shelter dog appreciation day or adopt a shelter dog day. It is Gay Pride Month. You never even tweeted about Gay Pride Month.”
“Well actually, if you look at my website now, we have hands clasped together, all different-colored, rainbow-hands people,” Bondi claimed.
But Politico has published a screenshot of Bondi’s website which does not show a tribute to the Orlando victims:
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 14, 2016
PamBondi.com also does not show the image she claimed to have posted on CNN:
Watch the original interview below:
*Equality Florida, Florida’s largest organization dedicated to securing justice for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the victims and families of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Please donate if you are able. Click here for more information.