‘You Really Believe That?’: Anderson Cooper Stunned When Tom Friedman Predicts America on the Brink of ‘Potential Second Civil War’

CNN’s Anderson Cooper was stunned when New York Times columnist Tom Friedman predicted that the country was on the brink of a “potential second civil war” during an appearance on AC360.

Cooper introduced his Thursday night segment with Friedman to discuss President Donald Trump‘s recent comments, in which he would not commit to the peaceful transfer of power after the election.

Friedman called Trump’s comments “stunning and surprising,” and added: “You know, I began my career as a journalist covering Lebanon’s second civil war in its history, and I’m terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America’s potential second civil war in its history.”

“You really believe that?” asked an astonished Cooper.

“I think what happened in the last few days is a six-alarm fire,” said Friedman, adding that he thought the danger rose to a level of “DEFCON 5,” an apparent error referring to the U.S. military’s “defense readiness condition” classification system, in which DEFCON 5 is the lowest, normal state of readiness and DEFCON 1 is an imminent or current nuclear war.

“The President of the United States has told us ‘Either I win the election or I delegitimize the election.’ Those are your choices, folks.”

Friedman continued, accusing Trump of trying to “trying to break people’s will — he’s trying to get people to say, ‘What the heck, he wants it so bad, just give it to him.'”

Friedman also called the situation “terrifying” and “the most frightening moment in my life,” because Trump is “backed by a state-owned network,” an apparent reference to Fox News, and “because the Republican Party has become basically a political brothel that rents itself out by the night to whoever will energize its base.”

“This is a party that went into its convention with no platform, just basically said whatever Trump wants, we want,” Friedman pointed out. “And I — if you’re not frightened now, if you are not terrified for what could happen, it’s not ‘We might have a disputed election.’ It is ‘We are going to have a disputed election, almost certainly,’ unless Trump wins, in which case I shudder to think what four more years of this would be like.”

Friedman continued his excoriation of the GOP: “When you have a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, and by social networks that are marinated in conspiracy theories, behind whom are a lot of armed people — if you are not frightened by this, you are not paying attention.”

“So what do you do?” Cooper asked.

“There is only one thing to do,” Friedman concluded. “Vote. Go out and vote. Vote for Joe Biden…There is only one tool we have. It is a tool that can work. That is to overwhelmingly vote. I have written and I will repeat: I will walk to the polls. I will crawl to the polls. I will slither to the polls, bike to the polls, hike to the polls, but I will cast my vote for Joe Biden.”

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