Anderson Cooper vividly remembers what it was like in Haiti after the devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2010 that left up to 300,000 people dead, displaced 1.5 million people, and brought together survivors who spent days digging through the rubble to rescue their fellow Haitians.
Friday marks the eighth anniversary of the earthquake, and on Thursday night's Anderson Cooper 360, the CNN host responded to President Trump calling Haiti a "shithole" by recalling what it was like being part of the first international team of journalists in the country after the temblor. "Like all countries, Haiti is a collection of people — rich and poor, well educated and not, good and bad," he said. "But I've never met a Haitian who isn't strong, and 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 any should ever be punished."
Cooper said he first went to Haiti in the early 1990s when he was starting out as a reporter, and ended up spending a month there covering the 2010 earthquake. "Let me be clear: the people of Haiti have been through more — they've been through more, they've withstood more, they've fought back against more injustice than our president ever has." Haitians "stand tall and have dignity," he said. "It's a dignity many in this White House could learn from, a dignity the president, with all his money and all his power, could learn from as well."
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Cooper teared up while recalling the rescue of a 5-year-old boy who was buried in the rubble for more than seven days. "Do you know what strength it takes to survive on rainwater, buried under concrete?" he asked. The host signed off by telling Haitians around the world he hopes they know "our thoughts are with them, and our love." Watch below. Catherine Garcia
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