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Piers Morgan says his friend President Trump is 'failing the American people'

Former CNN host Piers Morgan tells CNN's Brian Stelter what advice he has for his friend Donald Trump regarding handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 20, 2020 9:50 AM
Updated: Apr 20, 2020 9:50 AM

The coronavirus pandemic is "the biggest news story that any of us have every dealt with," Piers Morgan says, and it requires "a different approach from the traditional news anchor approach."

"Viewers want to see passion, they want to see anger, they want to see focus," Morgan said.

That's what the former CNN host has been bringing to his interviews on "Good Morning Britain" on the ITV network. Morgan, who has courted controversy his entire career, has earned applause for challenging British lawmakers and health officials about shortcomings when it comes to handling the coronavirus crisis.

Morgan applied the same "feet to the fire" approach while talking about his longtime friend President Trump on Sunday. He returned to CNN for an interview on "Reliable Sources" and said that Trump "is failing the American people" on almost every level.

Morgan was particularly critical of the president's performance at near-daily White House briefings, which he said he has watched "with mounting horror."

"He's turning these briefings into a self-aggrandizing, self-justifying, overly defensive, politically partisan, almost like a rally to him -- almost like what's more important is winning the election in November," Morgan said.

Then he addressed the president directly: "You will win the election in November if you get this right. If you stop making it about yourself and make it about the American people and show that you care about them over yourself, you will win. And, conversely, you will lose the election in November if you continue to make it about yourself, you continue playing silly politics, continue targeting Democrat governors because that suits you for your electoral purposes."

Piers & The President

Morgan and Trump have known each other for more than a decade. A former tabloid newspaper editor in Britain, Morgan was a judge on "America's Got Talent" when he was cast on "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2008. He hit it off with Trump and won the "Apprentice" title in the season finale.

Morgan has interviewed Trump repeatedly during the president's trips to the United Kingdom. He has defended his friend against criticism in numerous columns for The Daily Mail, but has also chastised the president for promoting vile rhetoric and lying to the American people.

One of Morgan's recent columns for the Mail was titled "America doesn't want a King Trump." He said he wrote it because he has grown "aghast at these press conferences," which are "typical Trump, but are so grating in a global pandemic crisis."

In an interview, Morgan said he applied a "critical friend" perspective to writing about Trump. And he noted, "he still follows me on Twitter."

Morgan has bruising words for British leaders, as well. Speaking on CNN Sunday, he said there are troubling parallels between the US and UK responses to the pandemic.

"You have two populist leaders in Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. And all the tricks that they used to become popular and to win elections and to lead their countries are now being tested in a very different way," Morgan said. "It's not about partisan politics anymore. It's about plain war crisis leadership."

"What I've noticed with both Boris Johnson and with Donald Trump is an apparent inability to segue into being war leaders," he added. "They're still playing the old games of party politics."

An unlikely "voice of reason"

On "Good Morning Britain," Morgan has had fiery exchanges with Johnson's health secretary Matt Hancock; care minister Helen Whately; and work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey.

With Coffey, Morgan spoke out about the government's "complacent attitude" and said "we spent weeks refusing to accept the severity of this crisis."

Each of the interviews garnered lots of attention -- with some viewers siding with Morgan and others saying he went too far. That's par for the course with the polarizing host.

A recent column in the Metro newspaper called him an unlikely "voice of reason" while noting that many viewers love to hate him. It was titled "You don't have to like Piers Morgan but he's absolutely right about coronavirus."

Morgan is far from the only host in the UK garnering praise for pushing government officials on their response to the crisis. But for some, he's a surprising figure filling what they believe is a void.

"Why is Piers Morgan doing the job of both the press *and* the Labour Party right now?" tweeted Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor in chief of the far left-wing news site The Canary.

But not everyone is convinced. Des Freedman, professor of media and communications at Goldsmith University, called Morgan "the nation's most controversial anchorman" who aims to provoke anyone who sits across from him.

"He excels in vitriol and outrage but like every stopped clock, he seems to be right twice a day (or maybe in his case, twice a week)," Freedman commented.

Professor Steven Barnett of the University of Westminster, who has advised parliament on various media issues, called Morgan "a narcissistic showman who thrives equally on notoriety and adulation."

"The fact that he's suddenly discovered what real journalism might be about should not distract from his overwhelming ambition to be the centre of attention," Barnett said.

Morgan isn't a stranger to that criticism. He delights in getting into scrapes on Twitter. On Sunday, he retweeted viewers who said they were surprised to be agreeing with his comments.

To a user who said "Trump has lost Piers Morgan," the host wrote, "He hasn't lost me. I just want him to listen & pivot."

"He has to put the country before himself," Morgan said on CNN. "He has to put Americans before electioneering. He has to remind himself every day, 'What can I do today to prevent more lives being killed?' Not 'How can I score more petty points.'"

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 101731

Reported Deaths: 3673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18483525
Cuyahoga13640500
Hamilton9689255
Lucas5377323
Montgomery439894
Summit3573223
Butler294463
Marion292945
Mahoning2566254
Pickaway238742
Stark1844139
Warren180339
Lorain180278
Columbiana166560
Trumbull1534107
Fairfield140032
Delaware131619
Licking129949
Clark115814
Lake112438
Wood105858
Clermont94111
Medina93035
Miami85338
Tuscarawas78814
Portage76561
Allen76044
Greene70312
Mercer62513
Belmont62126
Richland60812
Erie59227
Ashtabula57446
Geauga55844
Wayne54458
Ross4904
Darke40229
Huron4015
Ottawa39026
Madison38810
Sandusky38417
Hancock3793
Athens3591
Holmes3286
Lawrence2880
Auglaize2566
Union2541
Muskingum2391
Jefferson2342
Scioto2341
Seneca2223
Putnam20817
Knox2067
Washington20522
Preble2042
Shelby2004
Coshocton1946
Champaign1782
Crawford1745
Morrow1722
Hardin16912
Clinton1656
Highland1591
Logan1552
Ashland1493
Defiance1484
Wyandot1488
Fulton1471
Brown1382
Perry1363
Williams1353
Guernsey1187
Hocking1189
Henry1172
Fayette1150
Carroll1105
Monroe9318
Pike770
Jackson750
Van Wert721
Paulding700
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs500
Vinton312
Morgan280
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
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