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Anderson Cooper fought back tears Thursday night as he addressed President Trump’s comments about several countries, including Haiti, where the CNN host reported in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than one million.

The president reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “shithole countries” in an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers Thursday, questioning why the US would let immigrants from those places enter the country, according to the Washington Post.

“Like all places, Haiti is a collection of people, rich and poor, well-educated and not, good and bad. But I’ve never met a Haitian who isn’t strong,” Cooper said on his show, Anderson Cooper 360.


Friday is the eighth anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, according to a report published in 2011 by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

“But let me be clear tonight. The people of Haiti have been through more, they’ve withstood more, they’ve fought back against more injustice than our president ever has,” Cooper said.

He then recounted stories from the island, including one about a young girl who was buried for nearly a day before she was rescued by people who Cooper noted had only “their God-given strength and their determination and their courage.”

“I was there,” the host said, pausing as he grew emotional, “when a 5-year-old boy named Monley was rescued after being buried for more than 7 days. Do you know what strength it takes to survive on rain water, buried under concrete, a 5-year-old boy buried for 7 days?”

He then defended Haiti from the president’s comments.

“Haitians slap your hand hard when they shake it. They look you in the eye. They don’t blink. They stand tall, and they have dignity. It’s a dignity many in this White House could learn from. It’s a dignity the president, with all his money and all his power, could learn from as well,” he said.


“On the anniversary of the earthquake, on this day when the president has said what he has said about Haitians, we hope the people in Haiti who are listening tonight in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel . . . and Miami and elsewhere, we hope they know our thoughts are with them, and our love is with them as well.”

Watch the full clip here:

Material from The Washington Post was used in this report. Dylan McGuinness can be reached at dylan.mcguinness@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.