Piers Morgan has condemned Donald Trump over the chilling “send her back” chants at the US president’s rally, claiming the event “bordered on fascism” and that Trump’s rhetoric has now crossed the line to “overt racism”.
The journalist and broadcaster has been one of the most staunch defenders of Trump, who he considers to be a friend since they met on a celebrity version of The Apprentice.
But Morgan’s latest column for MailOnline appears to mark a shift in his position on the president as he labelled the rally “vile, repellent, shameful, shocking, disturbing”.
The rally on Wednesday descended into chants of “send her back” as the crowd reacted to the president’s comments about Muslim congresswoman, Ilhan Omar.
Speaking in North Carolina, Trump had been deriding four female Democrats who he described as “hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down”.
In his column, Morgan argued the display of “racist rage” was “the most sickening moment of (Trump’s) presidency.”
He wrote: “To actually watch and hear a large gathering of thousands of predominantly white Americans chanting such a blatant infamous racist trope about a democratically elected fellow American made me shudder.
“This should not be happening in modern America. And the fact Donald Trump is not just allowing it to happen, but actively encouraging it to happen, is an indefensible disgrace.”
Morgan called out Trump’s “overt racism”, adding that “what happened in North Carolina last night was not just racist-fueled demagoguery but bordered on fascism”.
Morgan did argue Omar is an “unashamed hard-core socialist with a radical progressive agenda” whose policies and statements should be critiqued.
But he added “Trump’s horrendous treatment of her now has gone way beyond normal political jousting and entered the realm of danger.”
“There’s no possible defence for such an outrageous racist attack on a young Muslim American congresswoman,” Morgan added.
“I urge President Trump to stop this dangerous nonsense immediately before the vile rhetoric is inevitably acted upon, with potentially devastating consequences.”
Trump’s jabs were aimed at the self-described ‘squad’ of four Democrats who have garnered attention since their arrival in January for their outspoken views and distaste for the president: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
All were born in the US except for Omar, who arrived there as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family. She has been a US citizen longer than the First Lady, Melania Trump.
Morgan has joined the chorus of condemnation from across the UK political spectrum, with Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt saying the chants were “deeply concerning”.
“Many people seeing that will be deeply concerned that you can set off a chain of events that are deeply, deeply unfortunate,” Hunt told Channel 5 television.
Both he are Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson have refused to call out Trump’s tweets – which ignited the controversy – as racist.