Anderson Cooper Chokes Up As He Explains What He Remembers About Haiti

On Thursday, it was reported President Trump called Haiti a "shithole."

Anderson Cooper knows Haiti.

The CNN anchor explained on Thursday night that he had a Haitian high school teacher, and he ran through the many times he had traveled to Haiti as a reporter on assignment, and on vacation. In the wake of reports that President Donald Trump called Haiti a "shithole," Cooper used his closing monologue to address the president's words. 

"Like all countries, Haiti is a collection of people," Cooper said. "Rich and poor, well educated and not, good and bad. But I've never met a Haitian who isn't strong. You have to be to survive in a place where the government has often abandoned its people, where opportunities are few and where mother nature has punished the people far more than anyone should ever be punished."

Cooper explained that President Trump's comments came just a day before the eight-year anniversary of the 7.1 earthquakes in Haiti that killed between 220,000 and 300,000 people. 

"For days and weeks, without help from their own government or police, the people of Haiti dug through rubble with their bare and bloodied hands to save complete strangers, guided only by the cries of the wounded and the dying," Cooper said.

He told the story of a young girl who had been trapped in rubble for a day, who was rescued by a group of Haitians with no equipment and no help, just their own determination. He spoke about a 5-year-old boy who was rescued after being buried for seven days. 

"Do you know what strength it takes to survive on rainwater buried under concrete?" Cooper asked. "The people of Haiti have been through more ... they fought back against more injustice than our president ever has."

Others took a similar approach to Cooper, giving a historical or personal response to the president's alleged comments. On Twitter, the author Jonathan Katz explained that Haiti's poverty has a lot to do with western colonization and slavery. He implored anyone speaking about their poverty in a derogatory way to ask themselves why it might be a poor country.  

As Cooper described the young boy and girl he remembered, he choked up, taking a long pause before continuing. And while he acknowledged the country had its own challenges, he insisted that one thing stood out about Haitians: their dignity.

"It's a dignity many in this White House could learn from," Cooper said. "It's a dignity that the president, with all his money and power, could learn from as well."

Cover image via  Joe Seer I Shutterstock

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