One of the UK’s most respected foreign correspondents has hit out at Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump, labelling the interrogation of the US President as “spineless”.
John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, suggested Trump was allowed to spout “self-evident tosh”, and signalled the head-to-head was “just showbiz” rather than a political interview.
But Good Morning Britain host Morgan, who has suggested fellow journalists are jealous of his exclusive, hit back – calling Simpson an “old prune” who has gloried in his own scoops.
In a wide-ranging interview, which Morgan attempted to frame as the modern equivalent of David Frost’s grilling of Richard Nixon, Trump appeared to offer an apology for his re-tweeting Britain First, suggested he tweets from his bed, and made clear he is not a feminist.
The US President also hinted he would do a better job of Brexit negotiations than Theresa May.
In real-time, the interview broadcast on ITV on Sunday night divided opinion
While former ‘Bake Off’ presenter Sue Perkins was less than impressed, ex-Tory chancellor-turned newspaper editor George Osborne offered his seal of approval.
But Simpson, who has held his post at the Beeb since 1988, took a very different view as a social media row fermented.
He tweeted: “The art of the political interview, Piers, is to push your interviewee hard – not let them spout self-evident tosh. That’s just showbiz.”
Morgan hit back, saying:
And the back and forth continued:
The much-trumpeted interview was watched by 3 million viewers – 1 million more than the average audience for ITV at 10pm.
But it still drew in fewer viewers than the 3.9 million who watched the BBC News at Ten on BBC One.