Anderson Cooper has apologised for a "crude" remark he made to a Trump supporter during a live interview.
Just over a week after his "eye roll" at Kellyanne Conway went viral, the CNN anchor again sent Twitter into a frenzy with his blunt assertion to a Trump stalwart.
"If [Mr Trump] took a dump on his desk, you would defend it," Cooper told political commentator Jeffrey Lord during an interview.
"I mean, I don’t know what he would do that you would not defend. I mean, you’re a loyal guy, I think that speaks well of you."
"If [Trump] took a dump on his desk, you'd defend it."-Anderson Cooper to Jeffrey Lord. pic.twitter.com/yhqb0gwVlm
— Jack Runyan (@JackDRunyan) May 20, 2017
The comeback, which made even his interviewee laugh in surprise, came as Mr Lord stood up for the president amid claims that he called James Comey, the FBI Director whom he fired, a "nut job" during a meeting with Russian officials.
Cooper later apologised on Twitter for his comment. "I regret the crude sentence i spoke earlier tonight and followed it up by apologizing on air. It was unprofessional. I am genuinely sorry," he wrote.
I regret the crude sentence i spoke earlier tonight and followed it up by apologizing on air. It was unprofessional. I am genuinely sorry.
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 20, 2017
The journalist’s comment had spread quickly on Twitter, where it was called "the greatest moment in network news history".
@JackPMoore Anderson Cooper wins the Internet forever
— DB (@NotoriousDB23) May 20, 2017
@SalHernandez @Bencjacobs @andersoncooper Maybe the greatest moment in network news history
— Matt Catlin (@MCatlin1984) May 20, 2017
@milkemojii @Ry16091980 @ecw0522 @Richard05620245 @Lara5124 @maddow @andersoncooper @johnpodesta @HillaryClinton @ChelseaClinton Dam that's gonna be hard to beat lol😂😂😂😂
— Andrew.Tx🇺🇸 (@HLibtards) May 20, 2017
Anderson Cooper just buried Jeffrey Lord..😂😂
— RespectMyGame (@battletested5) May 20, 2017
Not everyone was impressed, though.
Dear @andersoncooper, doesn't it get tiring? We all know Lord is a stooge. You're a real journalist. Why waste your time with this nonsense?
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) May 20, 2017
@andersoncooper Shame on you and your fake news #IfAlledgedDomeoneSaidTheySay #AndersonCooperWeWantRealNewsNotFantasyNews
— Mid Merica (@L0veAm0re) May 20, 2017
THIS is JOURNALISM? Disgusting! #AndersonCooper to Jeffrey Lord: You'd defend Trump if he 'took a dump on his desk' https://t.co/vFA18UauOz
— Lady De'Plorable (@IncognitoPatrio) May 20, 2017
Does anybody actually like Anderson cooper?
— Tony Welch (@t_welch02) May 20, 2017
Cooper caused a stir last week when he gave "the biggest eye-roll in the history of cable news" as Ms Conway, a senior Trump adviser, defended the president’s firing of Mr Comey.
Ms Conway later said the presenter’s exaggerated gesture was a sign of sexism.
"I face sexism a lot of times when I show up for interviews like that," she said. "Could you imagine rolling your eyes, having a male anchor on a network roll eyes at Hillary Clinton … a female representative/spokesperson for President Obama or President Bill Clinton?”
CNN has become a frequent target for Mr Trump’s attacks on the media, with the president branding it "fake news".