CNN anchor Anderson Cooper compared the sentiments of Trump supporters who stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 to the dehumanizing beliefs that triggered genocides in Africa and Europe.
What did Cooper say?
Speaking on his show Tuesday, Cooper compared rhetoric that inspired Trump supporters to storm the Capitol to rhetoric that, in part, resulted in genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s.
To bolster his case, Cooper cited “otherizing” people, or the perpetuation of an “us versus them” mentality.
“Part of it, I think, just based on what you were just saying, it comes to mind, the idea of otherizing people is something I think we saw a lot of over the last four years. I mean, certainly we’ve seen a lot over the last decades, but it’s so easy to otherize people, to make people other than, other than American, other than patriotic, other than human,” Cooper said.
“You know, and we’ve seen it in Bosnia, we’ve seen it in Rwanda, where radio was telling people that you know, Hutus, were telling the radio listeners that Tutsi were cockroaches for, you know, getting them ginned up for genocide,” he continued.
“And you see it in in these videos where people who claim they are patriots are in the face of a police officer calling him you know, as we’re seeing it right there and and you know, gouging out of the eye of one, you know, squeezing one in, you know, a suffocating one in a doorway,” Cooper said, speaking about the Capitol riot.
Cooper’s comments came during a conversation with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a critic of former President Donald Trump, who voted to impeach Trump last month.
CNN's Cooper compares Trump & his supporters on Jan. 6 to those that carried out genocides in Bosnia & Rwanda: "[W]e've seen it in Bosnia, we've seen it in Rwanda where radios was telling people – you know, Hutus were telling the radio listeners that the Tutsi are cockroaches…" pic.twitter.com/2oELRGqKeE
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 10, 2021
Are they similar?
The Rwandan genocide, occurring over a three-month period in 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War, claimed the lives of up to 800,000 people. Specifically, the minority Tutsi people were targeted.
The Bosnian genocide, occurring over three days in July 1995, claimed the lives of 8,372 people, the result of attempts at ethnic cleansing toward the end of the Bosnian War.
Five people died at the Capitol on Jan. 6. One person was shot by police, one was trampled, one died of a heart attack, one died of a stroke, and the cause of death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick has not been officially determined.
Tuesday was not the first time Cooper has invoked a genocide comparison to describe the events leading up to the Capitol riot.
“I was in Rwanda in the genocide briefly, I was in Bosnia … I hear people talking about civil war in America,” Cooper said on Jan. 12. “I am so upset when I hear these people at rallies — Trump rallies talking about civil war as if it’s some sort of a cleansing.”