CNN host Anderson Cooper, during a discussion on his show Friday, pointed out the recent hypocrisy of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who made headlines Friday and Saturday for saying during a pre-taped interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that he doesn't view President-elect Donald Trump as a "legitimate" president.
Lewis explained to "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that given the circumstances surrounding the 2016 presidential election — specifically the allegation that Russian state hackers manipulated the election to undermine America's democracy and to help Trump win — he will have a hard time viewing Trump as a "legitimate" president.
"I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis told Todd.
But, according to Cooper, that comment doesn't exactly make political sense. Because, as Cooper pointed out, Democrats would have likely been "up in arms" at any Republican who would have said the same thing about a president-elect Hillary Clinton.
"I get he doesn’t like Donald Trump. I get he doesn’t accept the results of the election, but is this helpful in any way?" Cooper questioned. "If a Republican had said this about President-elect Hillary Clinton, Democrats would be up in arms."
Cooper expressed the question to his four-person panel, which was made up of one Republican strategist, one Democratic strategist and two political reporters.
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Paul Begala said that Lewis was speaking from a “place of pain, not partisanship.” He personally believes that the election was legitimate, but “tainted.”
Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, said that Lewis is “putting being a liberal leftist above being an American.” She scolded him for his “despicable” comment and said it wasn’t Russia that took down Clinton’s flawed campaign.
Following a bit of discussion, Cooper went on to again ask his panel another question focusing on the potential hypocrisy of Lewis' comments.
"I just remember that before the election, there was all of this talk of 'Would Donald Trump accept the results of the election?' and there was a long of hand-ringing about, 'Oh, well, what if he doesn't accept the results and how terrible that will be,'" Cooper explained. "Can't Republicans point to John Lewis and say 'Well, that's what John Lewis is doing.'"
To that point, the panel mostly agreed, but argued that Republicans will need to exercise caution in how they approach the issue of Lewis, given that he is extremely well-respected.
Watch the panel's discussion and Cooper's comments below: