Anderson Cooper Nails Trump On Heidi Cruz Tiff: ‘That’s The Argument of a 5-year-old’

Anderson Cooper called out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the CNN-hosted town hall meeting in Milwaukee Tuesday evening, asking the outspoken billionaire about his “back-and-forth” war of words with rival candidate Ted Cruz — specifically, Trump’s threats to “spill the beans” on and his posting of an unflattering photo of the Texas senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz. Trump’s response was typical Trump, but Cooper was having none of it, reminding the frontrunner for the GOP nomination that he was running for president. When Donald Trump answered with the childish, “I didn’t start it,” Anderson Cooper had had enough and told him he was using the “argument of a five-year-old.”

As The Week reported March 29, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper, who has a history of testy confrontations with Donald Trump, sat down with the real estate mogul in Milwaukee for a town hall meeting and, during their conversation, brought up the subject of the headline-dominating side story where Trump and Ted Cruz had involved their wives in a bit of political mudslinging. Cooper said he had to ask, noting that Trump implied he would “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz, then followed that by posting to Twitter an “unflattering” photo of Cruz’s wife juxtaposed with that of his own, Melania Trump. Trump replied that he thought it “was a nice picture of Heidi,” that he “thought it was fine.”

Disbelief evident on his face and in his tone, Cooper said (per Media Matters), “Come on,” to which Trump doubled down on his previous statement. He repeated that “it [the photo] was fine. She’s a pretty woman.”

Donald Trump was being disengenuous, using the same tactic he used earlier in the campaign after insulting fellow candidate Carly Fiorina’s looks. He would, in a later debate, compliment her beauty.

In Milwaukee, Anderson Cooper scolded Trump, “You’re running for president of the United States.”

Trump replied, “Excuse me, I didn’t start it.”

Technically, the 2016 presidential candidate was being truthful. He did not, as he said, “start it.” The “it” was started by an anti-Trump Super PAC when they ran an ad campaign with a nude photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, introducing Utah voters to the next First Lady — unless they voted for Cruz. (Ted Cruz would go on to win the Utah Republican caucus.) Trump chose to look at the ad as an attack by the Cruz campaign, even though the Super PAC, in accordance with federal law, has no affiliation with Ted Cruz or his campaign for president. As Cooper recounted, Trump took to Twitter, posted an open-ended threat to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz, and posted the photos of model Melania Trump (what looked like a professional head shot) and Mrs. Cruz (her face twisted in what looked to be an angry outburst).

But Donald Trump’s puerile remark about not starting “it” prompted Cooper to observe, “But sir, with all due respect, that’s the argument of a five-year-old.” When Trump said it wasn’t, Cooper pressed that “The argument of a five-year-old is: ‘He started it.'”

Trump then decided to go to an old stand-by — accuse the media of somehow being in the wrong. He told Cooper that he would say that. He added, “That’s the problem with our country.”

The billionaire had used the same tactic in a CNN interview with Cooper back in mid-July. When the anchor brought up polls that Trump took exception to and said he was unfamiliar with, Trump observed, “The people don’t trust you and the people don’t trust the media. And I understand why.”

But that was July. In present-day Milwaukee, Cooper wasn’t done with mogul who would be president. He nailed down the point of Trump’s childishness, insisting, “Every parent knows a kid who says, ‘He started it.'”

Anderson Cooper’s calling out of Donald Trump was just the latest in an ongoing controversy that has rampaged through the press, on television, and on social media. It is also the latest example of mudslinging into which the 2016 Republican nomination race has degenerated. And it’s not the first time wives have been involved.

Back in July, shortly after declaring his candidacy, Trump went after then-rival candidate Jeb Bush via his wife. Already establishing himself as tough on immigration (he actually accused Mexicans of being rapists and drug mules in his candidacy announcement), he quoted, according to The Wrap, a follower’s post to Twitter that Bush liked “Mexican illegals” due to his wife. (Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, is a naturalized American citizen who was born in Mexico.)

The CNN town hall in Milwaukee wasn’t just about Donald Trump. Senator Ted Cruz and former Ohio governor John Kasich were on hand as well. The difference? During their allotted time, Anderson Cooper didn’t refer any of their positions as sounding like the justifications of a child.

[Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images]

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