Anderson Cooper blasted Donald Trump Jr. for “tweeting lies” about his coverage of hurricanes in order to make a political statement and got slapped back in no time.
In a nearly 10-minute segment on Monday, the CNN host unloaded on President Donald Trump’s son and other Twitter users for false claims and conspiracy theories about his coverage of Hurricane Florence.
“I’ve covered hurricanes for about 14 years and it really does make me sad to think that anyone would believe that I would try to fake something or overly dramatize a disaster,” Cooper said, referring to a 2008 photo of him covering Hurricane Ike in Texas.
The 10-year-old photo was being circulated on Twitter as an example of Cooper exaggerating the depth of floodwaters in Hurricane Florence. Trump Jr. also tweeted the photo with a caption accusing Cooper of “lying” to try to make the president, “look bad.”
It’s a shame that CNN’s ratings are down 41%. What’s worse is there’s a simple solution that they refuse to accept. Stop Lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad. https://t.co/O3XyWchsJh pic.twitter.com/BCUCxKnOvO
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 16, 2018
“Donny Jr. was claiming it showed me in Florence faking the depths of flood waters in order to somehow harm his father,” Cooper said. “And I quote from his tweet ‘stop lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad.'”
Actually, Trump Jr. never referred to the photo as being from Hurricane Florence, and he did not say in his tweet that Cooper was “faking the depths of flood waters in order to somehow harm his father.” Rather, it seems the tweet was more aimed at the network’s nosediving ratings which might be improved, according to Trump Jr., if they would stop lying about his father.
But that did not stop the CNN host from delivering his smug rebuttal.
“I debated whether I should even respond to the president’s son,” Cooper said. “I know he believes himself to be an outdoorsman and pays a lot of money to be led to wildlife in Africa that he then kills, but I’m not sure if he’s ever actually been to a hurricane or flood. I didn’t see him down in North Carolina in the last few days helping out, lending a hand, but I’m sure he was busy doing something important besides just tweeting lies.”
He went on to explain the shot in the photo being circulated, with a CNN cameraman in ankle-deep water while Cooper reported from deeper waters a few feet away.
“The idea that I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is frankly, idiotic,” Cooper said, showing a clip of himself walking out into the deeper water.
“Look, I don’t expect the president’s son to ever admit he was wrong, or one of the president’s former advisers or frankly anyone else who’s retweeted these pictures,” Cooper said. “But I at least thought that they and you should know the truth.”
A Twitter exchange between Trump Jr. spokesman, Andrew Surabian, and Matt Dornic, part of CNN’s Communications team, drove home the absurd “fake news.”
The only garbage I see is @AC360 outright lying about Don Jr. supposedly saying the viral pic was from Florence. He literally did no such thing.
The “evidence” CNN provided on screen doesn’t even reference Florence. You guys can’t even fact check without spreading #FakeNews.
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) September 18, 2018
Dornic’s attempt to prove his point by tweeting a photo of a post from Trump Jr.’s Instagram also fell flat.
Adorable defense, junior. The implication was clear. It’s time you own the garbage you spread.
In case there’s any confusion. Here’s your Instagram account. 1.3m followers. 50K likes. pic.twitter.com/1eDnDtAPSd
— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) September 18, 2018
Dear CNN PR hack – You’re not very good at your job. I appreciate you posting Don’s instagram post and again proving my point that there was zero reference to Florence. Please ask @AC360 to stop lying. Thank you.
PS: Calling Don “Junior” doesn’t make you a tough guy either.
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) September 18, 2018
Lynne Patton, who serves in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, tweeted out her take on the non-controversy, adding a series of hashtags including #TheyreCalledMemesFolks, #NeverClaimedItWasFlorence and #JustAskMikeSeidel, referring to the Weather Channel reporter who went viral for a video covering the hurricane.
— ?? Lynne Patton (@LynnePatton) September 17, 2018
“What are the chances @DonaldJTrumpJr apologizes for lying about me?” Cooper asked in a tweet on Monday.
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) September 18, 2018
The CNN host declared he was “not holding my breath,” as he shared the full video of his monologue.
Trump Jr. fired back with a brutal reality check.
Instead of spending 10 minutes (incorrectly) fact checking a meme, maybe @CNN should focus on fact checking their reporting so they don’t have another Lanny Davis/Cohen scandal?
PS – I’m still waiting for an apology for the debunked Wikileaks story you wrote about me last year! https://t.co/wnRSns1Thf
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 18, 2018
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