Anderson Cooper tore into Donald Trump Jr. and other internet trolls on Monday night over a now-viral photo of him reporting from the site of Hurricane Ike back in 2008.
The image shows Cooper up to his waist in water while a camera crew nearby stands safe on higher ground. Trump and other web users had suggested the image showed Cooper “kneeling” in the water to make it appear more dramatic.
“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 on CNN’s “AC360.”
“I debated whether I should even respond to the president’s son. 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,” he continued. “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.”
On Monday, Trump Jr. tweeted the image along with the following jab at Cooper’s network, CNN.
“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,” he said.
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
Hurricane related fake news has been on the rise in recent days after footage of Weather Channel reporter Mike Seidel struggling through high winds was criticized because other people appeared to walk unaffected nearby.
— Tony scar. (@gourdnibler) September 14, 2018
As for his shot during Hurricane Ike in 2008 that caused widespread flooding across East Texas, Cooper said on Monday that he had wanted to stay off the road and away from higher ground so as not to impede rescue efforts.
“I didn’t want to be roaming around on the highway interfering with rescue vehicles in any way. I also wanted to show people how deep the water was and how danger it is for anyone driving,” he said.