'But, c'mon!' Showdown between Anderson Cooper and Gorka gets so hot it continues after segment ends
A fiery exchange between CNN's Anderson Cooper and White House Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka unfolded on air and continued even after the segment ended.
After a discussion about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, the interview on Wednesday took a sharp turn as Cooper questioned Gorka on the turmoil in the White House.
"It's laughable, your chyron talked about a 'crisis,'" Gorka responded. "Your reporter talked about a 'bunker mentality.' I actually work in the West Wing, I work in the White House. It is absolutely nothing of the kind. The president is a steam locomotive that can't be stopped. It's just fake news."
Gorka added that he was "sad to see CNN fall to this."
"I know you want salacious and sensational coverage for your ratings so your corporate sponsors and owners will have more money, but that's not media, that's not reportage. It's just fake news," he continued.
When Cooper fired back that he was "just going to ignore the insults," Gorka reminded him that "it's not about you."
"It's about actually having journalism back on TV. Where are the Walter Cronkites of yesteryear. This is just about ratings and money. It's actually quite sad," he said.
Gorka's praise for Trump Jr.'s "transparency" in sharing the contents of his email exchange apparently exasperated Cooper.
"But c'mon!" Cooper said. "Let's be honest here though. He only published these emails because The New York Times got the emails and was gonna publish them and he smartly got ahead of it. And the only reason that this story has lasted so long is because he wasn't transparent from the beginning."
This set off a contentious back and forth between the two.
"I thought we were going to talk about real issues," Gorka complained.
"I am gonna ask you, but you're not being honest, you're not being up-front," Cooper responded.
"Anderson, how many minutes are we in?" Gorka asked.
"Are you a TV producer now?" Cooper shot back. "You're concerned about how [many] minutes we're talking? You have somewhere else to go? If you gotta go, you gotta go."
"You're falling into the fake-news trap again," Gorka replied. "And it's sad, Anderson."
But Cooper accused his guest of "shaking shiny objects to try to divert people, but I don't think viewers are really that easily diverted."
"Do you know why the president's description of a witch hunt is accurate," Gorka asked. "Because there never were witches. And there never was any collusion. It's bogus ... Anderson, you're like a broken record."
The two wrestled over whether questions were actually being asked and answered before Gorka turned to mocking CNN's ratings, prompting Cooper to ask how Trump's deputy advisor on national security affairs has time to "sit around" and "read Nielsen numbers."
Later in the show, Cooper's panel discussed the interview as Democratic strategist Paul Begala said "the only reason [Gorka] insulted you is because he can't answer the question."
"It's like Don Rickles." Cooper said. "That's his schtick. It's like the Hungarian Don Rickles."
Gorka later responded on Twitter to Cooper's tweeted video.
Ratings, Anderson Cooper, fake news, Sebastian Gorka, Donald Trump Jr, Russian Lawyer