It didn’t go well.
The former president during Wednesday night’s CNN event vowed to pardon Jan. 6 insurrectionists, said only “very stupid” people accept the results of the 2020 election, called moderator Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person” and mocked the woman who a jury found was sexually abused by Trump.
Critics slammed the network as “shameful” for even hosting the event, which Cooper admitted was “disturbing” and “awful.” He also said it was “disturbing” to hear the audience “laugh and applaud his lies.”
“Many of you think CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak, and I understand the anger about that,” Cooper said. “But this is what I also get: The man you were so disturbed to see and hear last night? That man is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president.”
Cooper then pushed back at critics who don’t want to hear from Trump ― and don’t want CNN giving him the platform.
“Do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?” he asked. “If we all only listened to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite.”
"If you're angry or upset, I understand, but you have the power to do something about it." Listen to CNN's @andersoncooper discuss the CNN Republican presidential town hall with Donald Trump, as Manu Raju and Jessica Dean share the GOP reaction to the former president. Watch: pic.twitter.com/wzcrUoHEt1
— CNN (@CNN) May 12, 2023
CNN’s critics are pointing out that Trump’s behavior is perfectly consistent with everything he’s said and done since announcing his first run for president in 2015 ― and that all CNN did was give him a prime-time platform to continue to spread those lies.
They called out Cooper and the network on Twitter:
This is incredible bullshit from @andersoncooper - the idea that producing a live Trump rally with is somehow "breaking down silos" is patently ridiculous. Absurd. Offensive. Deeply stupid. I'm embarrassed for him. https://t.co/380v4pt42T
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) May 12, 2023
Wow, Chris Licht must be really feeling some heat for Anderson Cooper to become a gaslighting scold with his own viewers. https://t.co/hGcv2w6gsT
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) May 12, 2023
We’re not in a “silo”, @andersoncooper. @CNN has been shoving this Nazi down our throats for 8 long, sickening years. We’re aware if what this “other side” is. Are YOU? Read the room. https://t.co/2TJnukB4P6
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) May 12, 2023
I love you @andersoncooper. But that's not the choice. We hear Trump every day. His social media posts are reproduced. News stations & newspapers carry his statements & report on his every move. His followers lead the House of Representatives, and many state houses. https://t.co/vRC0Nh127K
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@SIfill_) May 12, 2023
“How do you know you don’t like klan rallies if you don’t spend some time at klan rallies?” https://t.co/Ko3C3o7k9w
— Saeed, Or The Other One (@theferocity) May 12, 2023
*hosts a mud wrestling match filled with drunken spectators* Do you really think this mud wrestling will just go away if we don’t host it? I am the adult in this situation delivering hard truths.
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) May 12, 2023
"sure we staged a completely one-sided biased performance in a room full of his supporters to promote a convicted sex offender who tried to overthrow the government but what about both sides?"
— darth™ (@darth) May 12, 2023
Is there really a silo where you can avoid listening to Trump?? If so, can someone please point me to it? https://t.co/wq3hclQLQP
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 12, 2023
This reflects a lack of imagination. The arg is not that media should not cover Trump or what he does. Instead, media must be more thoughtful in its coverage and platforming of Trump, lest they become the de facto production company for disinformation & anti-democratic rhetoric. https://t.co/ZJM0oababy
— Hakeem Jefferson (@hakeemjefferson) May 12, 2023
it’s true i’d never heard from trump before last night https://t.co/2kvc7FLq8h
— andy™ (@andylevy) May 12, 2023
Apologize all you want @AC360. CNN failed. You gave evil a cheering section. This was a one-sided, hate-spewing, circus without a ringmaster. Stop normalizing fascism and intolerance. Balanced coverage is not an open mic for despotism. You fuel the beast to line your pockets. https://t.co/WxADCOGcPg
— Kerry O’Grady 🌻🇺🇦 (@kerryogrady5280) May 12, 2023
This is total strawman bullshit, @AndersonCooper. You know damn well you don't have to platform a lying, abusive, hateful, cruel, racist, sexist insurrectionist in order for your viewers to not be in "silos."
Just bullshit apologetics for CNN's decision to puts profits first. https://t.co/SqusJ8OfFm
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) May 12, 2023
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 12, 2023
This is really pathetic from @AndersonCooper. He's scolding the audience for saying CNN shouldn't have ceded editorial control to Trump; insulting them by saying maybe they hadn't paid attention to what he's done since leaving office.
He remains the most overrated man in TV news https://t.co/qCyQwUg8DM
— Keith Olbermann↙️ (@KeithOlbermann) May 12, 2023
CNN using outrage about their content to farm even more content lmfao https://t.co/KHQt0SH20P
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) May 12, 2023
— Paul Brandeis Raushenbush (@raushenbush) May 12, 2023
— Rachel Vindman 🌻 (@natsechobbyist) May 12, 2023
that’s a bad take, my man. https://t.co/fG3e0bjIjs
— twenty one royal street (@21royalstreet) May 12, 2023
Well…thank god Charles Manson is no longer available.
— The Mrs.Gravely (@mikeysmom04) May 12, 2023