Piers Morgan fury: TV star’s fierce comeback to ‘hopes for Donald Trump death’
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The Good Morning Britain star, 55, has had a tempestuous relationship with the world leader over the past few years. During his time as a CNN host and on The Celebrity Apprentice, Piers cosied up to Mr Trump. But this year, the ITV star criticised the President for his response to coronavirus and his “bats*** crazy theories”. The Republican leader has refused to concede the 2020 US election after a crushing defeat from Joe Biden. Mr Trump has made baseless claims of voter fraud and threatened to sue, which the President-elect denounced as “an embarrassment”. In the wake of the election results, some US citizens have celebrated and others dangerously made comments wishing for Mr Trump’s death.
This isn’t the first time the departing US leader has faced death threats online as proved by a report from Dataminr in January 2017.
They found that more than 12,000 posts contained the words “assassinate Trump” on Twitter in the two weeks following his inauguration.
Celebrities asked to perform at the ceremony also faced condemnation online, including operatic legend Andrea Bocelli who backed out after he received death threats.
Piers condemned the “viciously violent vitriol” in his book Wake Up: Why the World has Gone Nuts, which was released last month.
He wrote: “The threats have carried on coming, many of them far more serious than a Twitter plot, with the Secret Service working 24/7 to stop myriad plots to attack POTUS.”
Celebrities made concerning comments too, including Madonna who said she had “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” during the Women’s March on Washington in 2017.
She backtracked and claimed her words were a “metaphor” that had been taken out of context after her arrest was called for by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
US comedian Kathy Griffin posted a photograph of herself “clutching an image of Trump’s severed, blood-splattered head”, which she initially defended as a joke but later apologised.
Piers questioned whether it was “funny” considering “ISIS barbarians were doing exactly that to fellow Americans” and highlighted that four sitting presidents had been assassinated.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democrat candidate Hillary, commented that Ms Griffin’s post was “vile and wrong”.
She was reported to have spent eight years – two presidential terms – in “constant terrifying fear that someone might kill her father”.
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Twitter has been one of the main sources for threats of violence online – but it has been noted that only 20 percent of people in the US and UK use the social media platform.
On BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show, journalist Amol Rajan explained that 10 percent of those Twitter users produced 80 percent of the site’s tweets.
In October, he stated: “In other words about two percent of the population have this hugely disproportionate influence.”
Piers, who featured on the show, claimed that social media had become “very tribal” and anyone with a differing opinion is targeted by obscene messages.
He recalled: “When Donald Trump got coronavirus, high profile liberals, including people who worked in Obama’s administration at the White House in one case I saw, actually wanted him to die.
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“[They] are prepared to put that in writing on Twitter. When Boris Johnson had coronavirus [it was] the same thing – liberals wanted him to die.
“When I got a woman popped up on Twitter immediately ‘I’m so sorry’, when I tested negative, ‘I really hoped you would die’.
“All of this is completely outrageous and unacceptable but it’s being driven by the social media tribal atmosphere.”
Piers claimed the responses were reminiscent of 2,000 years ago when “tribes lived in their own little echo chamber” and killed those who “had different views”.
Since Mr Trump’s refusal to accept the election result, similar tweets about the leader’s death have emerged online.
The furore over his delay in leaving the White House and allegations that the election was rigged, was predicted by forensic psychiatrist Dr Bandy X Lee.
She told Express.co.uk that he is a “very concrete person” so his words “either directly apply or in the exact opposite meaning”.
In comments ahead of the US election, she said: “So when he says, ‘There won’t be a transfer…. There will be a continuation,’ I take him seriously, and of course it is very concerning.”
David Smith, The Guardian’s Washington DC Bureau Chief, admitted there were “plenty of theories” about what Mr Trump would do next.
They included launching a rival TV network to Fox News after his public fallout with the broadcaster, a return to reality TV or to remain a “major looming presence of the Republican Party”.
This week, he told the Today in Focus podcast: “Will he walk away from politics altogether or actually stay very engaged … stir the pot and threaten to run again in 2024?”
Piers Morgan’s new book Wake Up: Why the World has Gone Nuts was published by HarperCollins last month and is available here.
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