Watching Anderson Cooper Rip Florida’s Attorney General On Orlando’s LGBTQ Victims Might Give You Faith In Humanity
No one gets to talk shit about Anderson Cooper ever again after Tuesday. Like everyone else, the Orlando shooting this weekend initially made him sad, and then incredibly angry. Angry because there’s a lot of hypocrisy swirling around, like politicians mourning the victims but taking money from the National Rifle Association. But watching Anderson Cooper rip into the Florida Attorney General about her past statements on gay marriage is my new favorite show. Here’s the thing — Pam Bondi has been on-air talking about the victims and how upset she is about the loss of life this weekend. But in the past, her office has fought LGBT rights and she argued in court that same-sex marriage would be “harmful” and creates unstable homes, even after a federal judge ruled that it was constitutional.
“Don’t you think there’s a sick irony there,” Cooper asked her on CNN. Bondi continued to defend her past actions, saying that she was just doing her job to uphold the constitution of the state of Florida, which is actually just “guns, no gays, God” written in Sharpie on the back of a cocktail napkin. So Anderson goes, “Mmmmk.” Either way, you can see him thinking it’s a little despicable. If someone doesn’t truly believe something, how can they fight for it in court? Then again, this is a person who took a donation from Donald Trump to not pay attention to Trump University fraud, so she has no moral core.
Anderson took her down, laying out truth bombs left and right.
Bondi said this is not about her not being a champion of LGBT rights (because it isn’t and she’s not) but that it’s about “the victims.” Cooper corrects her: gay and lesbian victims. She gets increasingly uncomfortable because he won’t let it go. “I’ve never really seen you talk about gay, lesbian, and transgender people in a positive way,” he said. Bondi swears that she loves LGBTQ individuals, that there is a cute little GIF of rainbow-colored hands “clasping” each other on her website (no one can find it, though), and that her work these days is recognizing the victim’s personhood, not their sexuality, and bringing families and spouses together in the hospital.
Cooper reminds her that if there wasn’t same-sex marriage, there would be no spouses, and people would be barred from getting medical updates on their loved ones. Bondi stares blankly at him before telling him that her office is working to help partners get information and everything they need.
Apparently, there is a case to be made that one can believe in the “sanctity of marriage” but also feel very, very sad about the LGBTQ victims, who were targeted because of their sexual orientation Sunday. Cooper’s right — there’s a sick irony there. It has to be hard for people like Bondi, and maybe — let’s hope — a turning point for them. Hearing Bondi talk about the victims as “humans,” with lives and loved ones when arguments like her office’s against same-sex marriage and LGBTQ civil rights are based on not viewing LGBTQ individuals as humans is frustrating. Cooper essentially gave Bondi a swirly with that interview, asking her to explain the “sick irony” and prove that she’s not a hypocrite even though she obviously is.
Her office and usually-bigoted Florida politicians do look like they’re doing everything they can to investigate the shooting and are very affected by the slaughter at Pulse this weekend. You can almost see that it’s hard for them to make sense of the two ideas. Many Republicans have refused to acknowledge that the Orlando victims were targeted for being LGBTQ in their statements about the shooting, but they can’t mourn the shooting and just ignore the reasons behind it.
The biggest mass shooting in American history might not be the best time for fighting amongst ourselves. However, holding elected officials responsible for their words — and calling bullshit when you see it — is just good journalism. Stay angry, Cooper.