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Anderson Cooper has delivered a pointed rebuttal to Donald Trump Jr. after the president's son tweeted a picture of Cooper doing storm coverage and accused the CNN journalist of lying to make Trump Sr. "look bad."
\u201cIt\u2019s a shame that CNN\u2019s ratings are down 41%. What\u2019s worse is there\u2019s a simple solution that they refuse to accept. Stop Lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad. https://t.co/O3XyWchsJh\u201d— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1537102627
The tweet's implication was that Cooper, pictured in waist-deep water while his camera crew stood in much shallower water, was exaggerating the damage done by Tropical Storm Florence, which has devastated parts of the southeastern U.S. Others followed up on the tweet, such as Gavin J. Smith, who worked on the Trump presidential campaign, saying Cooper was delivering "fake news," and several saying the reporter was kneeling in the water.
"Some guy I've never heard of made a joke on Twitter that I was on my knees in the water to make it look deep, then went on to say that I was used to being on my knees, which I assume is some sort of antigay reference -- very classy," the out journalist said Monday night on his Anderson Cooper 360 show.
Cooper pointed that not only was he not kneeling, the photo was from 10 years ago, in his coverage of Tropical Storm Ike in Texas. He explained that there are often different heights of water in flooding from major storms and played some of his video from Ike to show he wasn't exaggerating and that the coverage was indeed from that 2008 storm. Camera operators, he noted, can't have their equipment in the water, so they have to stand on higher ground. And one of the crew members pictured, audio technician Doug Thomas, died a year ago, Cooper added.
"I don't expect the president's son to ever admit he was wrong, or one of the president's former advisers or anyone else who's retweeted these pictures," Cooper said. "But I at least thought that they and you should know the truth."
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Indeed, Trump Jr. didn't admit he was wrong -- he followed up with a tweet claiming he knew the picture wasn't from Florence and that he simply meant to draw attention to a drop in CNN's viewership, linking to a Breitbart article on the subject. This led GQ contributor Luke Darby to comment, "Trump Jr. is either being deliberately misleading here (posting a picture of a hurricane during a hurricane kinda invites an immediate connection) or he's too dumb to realize what he's saying."
Trump Jr. has also been taken to task this week for another social media posting -- an Instagram post making light of Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford "deserves to have her claims heard and put through due process," Jack Holmes noted on Esquire's website. "She should not be ridiculed by a stunted son desperately seeking the approval of a father who is himself a stunted son."