The Anderson Cooper-Donald Trump Jr. feud is on.
After the CNN anchor ripped the president’s son late Thursday, calling him “Donny” and mocking his relationship with his father, Don Jr. fired back Friday with a tweet of a much-mocked 2008 photo of the journalist in waist-deep flood water, festooned with clown and banana emojis.
The post was accompanied by a tweet from the NewsBusters, a website of the conservative Media Research Center, accusing Mr. Cooper of throwing an on-air “tantrum.”
Mr. Cooper erupted at the end of the two-hour coronavirus special, blasting criticism of the network’s decision to include teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg along with doctors and public-health experts.
Although the social-media critics were legion, Mr. Cooper singled out Mr. Trump with a personal attack, making fun of the Trump Organization and saying that he “wants his dad to love or notice him in a way that’s not mocking him.”
“And then of course Donny Trump Jr. jumped into this, which is weird because I thought he was allegedly running whatever remains of the Trump organization, and shouldn’t that be a really busy job because it’s, you know, allegedly such a great big company?” said Mr. Cooper.
His three-minute blast wound up attracting arguably as much media buzz as the town hall itself.
“Anderson Cooper Calls Out Don Trump Jr. over Greta Thunberg,” said Mediaite.
“Anderson Cooper: Donald Trump Jr. Attacks CNN ‘Because He Wants Dad to Love Him,’” according to The Wrap.
CNN was apparently fine with the feisty finale, promoting the missive with a post headlined, “Cooper claps back at Trump Jr. over Thunberg ‘drama.’”
Conservative critics, meanwhile, accused Mr. Cooper of throwing a “tantrum” and “losing his noodle.”
“Amazing to watch @AndersonCooper have a full-blown tantrum on national television because @DonaldJTrumpJr was mean to him,” tweeted National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam.
The anchor called Mr. Trump’s criticism “low-hanging fruit.”
“It’s easy. And I know Donny Jr. just wants his dad to love him or notice him in a way that’s not mocking him,” said Mr. Cooper.
Mr. Trump and others poked fun earlier this week at CNN’s promo featuring Ms. Thunberg along with two prominent doctors and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“Greta Thunberg having a remarkable career already in that as a teenager she’s now a world renowned infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist AND a leading scientific voice when it comes to global climate policy. Just wow so impressive,” tweeted Mr. Trump on Wednesday.
Mr. Cooper responded that CNN’s coronavirus town halls have featured other non-experts, including singer Alicia Keys and filmmaker Spike Lee.
The 2008 photo showed Mr. Cooper in waist-deep water after Hurricane Ike in Texas while a cameraman stood nearby in ankle-deep water.
The CNN anchor later said he made it clear during the segment that he was standing in a ditch and that the water level in the region varied dramatically, calling the suggestion that he was kneeling to exaggerate the flooding “idiotic.”