During an interview in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday’s “CNN Newsroom,” CNN host Anderson Cooper pressed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) about her failure to tweet about Gay Pride Month and her defense of the state’s marriage amendment, and whether her arguments in favor of the amendment sent “a message to some people who might have bad ideas in mind?”
Cooper asked Bondi about accusations from gay and lesbian people he had talked to who said Bondi is a “hypocrite,” because “you, for years have fought — you basically have gone after gay people, said that, in court, that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality for trying to do harm to the people of Florida. 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?”
Bondi responded that as attorney general, it was her job to defend the state’s constitution, and she was defending the state’s marriage amendment in court, and never said she disliked gay people.
Cooper then asked, “[D]o you worry about using language accusing gay people of trying to do harm to the people of Florida, when — doesn’t that send a message to some people who might have bad ideas in mind?”
Bondi responded that she doesn’t believe gay people can do harm to the state, and her lawyer was arguing in defense of what was in the state’s constitution.
She was later asked, “Are you saying you did not believe it [same-sex marriage] would do harm to Florida?” Bondi answered, “Of course not, of course not. Gay — no, I’ve never said that. those words have never come out of my mouth.”
Cooper responded that that was what Bondi argued in court, Bondi objected, and re-iterated that she was arguing in defense of the state constitution, which she is bound to defend as part of her job.
Cooper later asked if there was a “sick irony” that without same-sex marriage, the boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead wouldn’t be able to get information about, or visit their loved ones in the hospital.
Bondi countered that her office has worked to help people who aren’t officially married get information, and after Cooper followed up with his “sick irony” question, that she was defending what was in the state’s constitution.
Cooper then stated, “[T]he federal courts said that’s not the constitution and you continued to fight it.” Bondi responded, “That’s why we rushed it to get it to the US Supreme Court because we needed the finality.”
Cooper then countered, “Well, before it was at the Supreme Court, there was a federal judge, and you continued to fight it after the federal judge ruled, and in fact, you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money fighting it.”
Bondi responded that they rushed to get the case in front of the Supreme Court, and that today is about “human beings.”
Cooper then stated, “It’s about gay and lesbian victims.” A point Bondi agreed with, after Cooper asked again if Bondi believed it was hypocritical to “portray yourself as a champion of the gay community,” to which Bondi answered, “I’m not portraying myself as anything other than trying to help human beings who have lost their lives, who are right behind us right now in hospital beds, who have family members who aren’t getting the services they need.”
Cooper responded “I have never really seen you talk about gays and lesbians and transgender people in a positive way until now. … You’ve never even tweeted about Gay Pride Month.”
Bondi answered that her website does have a symbol of rainbow-colored hands clasped together on her site, to which Cooper asked, “So, you just put that up now?”
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