This is a CNN breaking news alert: Anderson Cooper says he’s sorry.
The longtime CNN anchor issued an apology Friday night after being “a little crude” with Jeffrey Lord, one of a handful of contributors employed by the network to defend President Trump.
During his Anderson Cooper 360 show, the host had Lord on to discuss a New York Times report that Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office that fired FBI Director James Comey was “crazy” and “a real nut job.”
“I don’t care what he says to the Russians. I mean, he’s the President of the United States,” Lord said from his Camp Hill, Pa. home. “If he wants to say that, if Barack Obama wants to say whatever, if George Bush says I looked into his eyes ...”
“If he took a dump on his desk, you would defend it,” Cooper said, interrupting Lord. “I don’t know what he would do that you would not defend.”
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) May 20, 2017
Later in the segment, Cooper apologized to Lord, calling his language “a little crude.”
“I like having your voice on here, and I think you’re an important voice to have,” Cooper told a smiling Lord, who said he hadn’t taken offense to the host’s comment.
Later in the evening, Cooper published an apology on Twitter, calling his comments “unprofessional.”
I regret the crude sentence i spoke earlier tonight and followed it up by apologizing on air. It was unprofessional. I am genuinely sorry.
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 20, 2017
Lord is among a cast of rotating defenders the network turns to in order to lend support to the president and his policies, with viewpoints that often seem intended to create controversy rather than offer policy insight. CNN currently pays 12 pro-Trump contributors to defend the president during news broadcasts, a list that includes Kayleigh McEnany and Scottie Nell Hughes.
In a profile in the New York Times, CNN CEO Jeffrey Zucker described his cadre of pro-Trump panelists as “characters in a drama,” with the intention of hitting a viral nerve or making a memorable appearance that can be debated over and over again throughout the day.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you have Jeffrey Lord or Kayleigh McEnany,’ but you know what?” Zucker proudly asked Times reporter Jonathan Mahler. “They know who Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany are.”