Fighting words. Anderson Cooper responded on Wednesday, June 15, to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's claims that their interview in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, which aired live on CNN the previous day, was edited to portray her in a bad light.
"She's either mistaken or she's not telling the truth," the CNN host said on his show, Anderson Cooper 360. "Let's be real here. Ms. Bondi's big complaint seems to be that I asked in the wake of a massacre of gay and lesbian citizens about her new statements about the gay community and about her old ones."
As Us Weekly previously reported, Cooper, 49, grilled the Republican politician over her contradictory stance on LGBT equality and gay marriage following the shooting deaths of 49 people and wounding of 53 others at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, June 12.
"You said in court that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality, were trying to do harm to the people of Florida," Cooper said to Bondi during their interview on Tuesday. "Do you really think you're a champion of the gay community?"
Bondi claimed during a radio interview with WOR 710 in New York on Wednesday that she was led to believe that the interview with Cooper would focus on donation scams affecting the victims and their families.
Instead, "when he posted the clip [online], he cut out the entire first portion that discussed people donating to legitimate funds," she said, and insisted that all the interview did was "encourage anger and hate." (CNN.com later posted the interview online in its entirety.)
"There's a time and place for everything, but yesterday wasn't the time nor the place in front of a hospital when we could have been helping victims," Bondi added.
"For the record, my interview was not filled with any anger," Cooper responded on air on Wednesday. "My job is to hold people accountable, and if on Sunday a politician is talking about love and about embracing 'our LGBT community,' I don't think it's unfair to look at their record and see if they have ever actually spoken that way publicly before, which I've never heard her say."
"The fact is Attorney General Bondi signed off on a 2014 federal court brief that claimed married gay people would 'impose significant public harm.' Harm. She spent hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money, gay and straight taxpayers' money, trying to keep gays and lesbians from getting the right to marry," he continued.
"Good people can and do disagree on that issue — everyone has the right to their own opinion, thank goodness — but Miss Bondi is championing right now her efforts to help survivors. With the very right which allows gay spouses to bury their dead loved ones — that's a right that would not exist if Miss Bondi had her way. I think it's fair to ask her about that. There is an irony in that."
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!