She previously led charge against gay marriage in Florida and now claims she’s an “ally.”
The aftermath of the Orlando Terror Attack, which left 49 dead and wounded 53 at Pulse Nightclub, has left the country reeling, searching for answers in a time of senseless tragedy. In particular, it has left many Americans eroded with anger over nonsensical gun legislation and the sudden array of empathy from conservatives towards the LGBT community, which many rightfully see as disingenuous pandering explicitly aimed at advancing their own agenda of fighting extremist terrorism.
Anderson Cooper, the notable CNN commentator who came out as gay in 2012, began his segment Monday morning with a moving tribute to the victims of the attack, tearing up while reading aloud the names of the deceased and the little information on their lives that could be put together in the moment.
Yesterday, however, his emotions pivoted from somber to anger, aggressively calling out the hypocrisy of Florida’s right-wing administration – which has actively stood in the way of LGBT rights – for exploiting the attacks and faux empathy during an interview with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“Do you really think you are a champion of the gay community?” Cooper asked Bondi, informing her that a large portion of the LGBT community saw her statements as being hypocritical.
When reminded that in 2014 she had argued in court filings that recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states would “impose significant public harm” to the people of Florida, she said that she was simply upholding the state constitution.
“That’s what I was defending,” she insisted. “It had nothing to do…I’ve never said I don’t like gay people. That’s ridiculous.”
Cooper was unrelenting though, saying “But you were arguing that gay marriage — if there was gay marriage, if there was same-sex marriage — that would do harm to the people of Florida, to Florida society. Are you saying you do not believe it would do harm to Florida?”
“Of course not, of course not,” Bondi replied, attempting to pivot. “Gay people — no, I’ve never said that. Those words have never come out of my mouth.”
“But that is specifically what you argued in court,” Cooper replied.
Cooper then continued further, reminding her that a phone hotline she had been touting as a way for Pulse victims’ families to get information about their loved ones would not have been available to same-sex couples if marriage had not been legalized by the Supreme Court last June, Bondi again was left to explain herself.
“Let me take it a step further, she said. “People right now who are partners, who aren’t married, officially, aren’t able to get information. So we are trying to assist them in getting information.”
“But isn’t there a sick irony that you, for years, were fighting that very idea?”
Watch the full interaction between Cooper and Bondi below.