CNN anchor Anderson Cooper went after Donald Trump Jr. Monday on his cable television show AC360, saying that the president’s son used an old hurricane photo of him covering another storm to accuse him of lying about Hurricane Florence coverage.
The photo that has been circling around social media shows Cooper standing in waist-deep water in a submerged area during Hurricane Ike that hit Texas in 2008 while his cameraman recorded on higher ground, according to the Washington Post.
Some on social media used the photo to charge that Cooper exaggerated the flooding resulting from Hurricane Florence over the weekend, per the Post. CNN has reported rain totals that topped 26 inches in various locations in North Carolina, including populated Wilmington.
Donald Trump Jr. used the 10-year-old photo in his Twitter post Sunday and called on CNN to “stop lying” about Hurricane Florence to make his father’s administration 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
Former Trump administration official Gavin Smith tweeted out a similar photo from the same storm, claiming it to be from Hurricane Florence, calling it “absolutely disgraceful.”
Absolutely disgraceful! Apparently #HurricaneFlorence wasn’t devastating enough for @CNN’s @andersoncooper — so he had to exaggerate for his live shot. #FakeNews at its finest! pic.twitter.com/9pUJ6Ulgqf— Gavin J. Smith (@iamgavinjames) September 15, 2018
That tweet brought an on-air rebuke from Cooper.
“I debated whether I should even respond tonight to the president’s son,” Cooper said on his show. “I know he considers himself 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 actually been to a hurricane or a flood. I didn’t see him down in North Carolina over the last few days helping out, lending a hand, but I’m sure he was doing something important besides just tweeting lies.”
Cooper went in detail about the video, taken in Bridge City, Texas, during a two-hour special CNN did on Hurricane Ike, where then Texas Gov. and current Trump administrator Rick Perry was interviewed.
He went on to say while playing video from the original report that he was explaining how water in the area was actually receding from the Southeast Texas town in Orange County as emergency personnel scrambled to rescue people who had been trapped in their homes.
“You can argue I didn’t need to be standing in waist-deep water,” Cooper said in the broadcast. “I could have been standing on the road by the camera crew… I also wanted to show people how deep the water was and how dangerous it is for anyone driving.”
“Look, I don’t expect the president’s son to ever admit that he was wrong or one of the president’s advisers or frankly anyone else who’s retweeted any of these pictures. But I at least thought that they and you should know the truth.”