Donald Trump’s sexually aggressive comments about “grabbing [women] by the p***y” have seen Republican leaders withdraw their support for his campaign in their droves.
But while even the candidate’s own running mate, Mike Pence, has let it be known he is “beside himself” with anger at the Trump audio tapes released on Friday, there’s at least one high-profile fan who has decided against condemning the billionaire businessman.
In 50 tweets since the tapes emerged on Friday, Piers Morgan has yet to criticise Mr Trump's comments.
And he has condemned other public figures who have done so, even taking to task the official TicTac USA Twitter account for coming out with a statement on the matter.
And in one particularly ignominious exchange, Morgan clashed with the BBC rugby pundit Brian Moore over an article from April this year in which Morgan praised Mr Trump for being “extremely charming when he wanted to be, especially with the female contestants” on The Apprentice.
Morgan, who served as a Trump adviser on the reality show for a number of years, said women “like [Trump’s] swaggering self-confidence, his non-PC and non-politician style”.
“Many of them, including sports stars, actresses, supermodels and rock stars, ended up melting like fawning putty in Mr Trump’s famously delicate hands,” he wrote.
Moore suggested Morgan was a “shameless apologist” for Mr Trump, and that the audio tapes showed he had “got this one wrong”.
But Morgan hit back, saying: “Talking of shameless, I'd love to hear a hot mic from inside your old rugby dressing rooms. Would make Trump sound like a choirboy.”
After the TV presenter Richard Bacon asked if Morgan “still think[s] we’re overreacting” to Mr Trump, he replied: “Mate, does your nose ever bleed on that lofty moral/ethical plinth?”
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell put it to Morgan that Mr Trump was “not doing too well so far” at dealing with the crisis, to which Morgan replied: “At least he doesn't have to spin an illegal war.”
And when the ITV News presenter Mark Austin asked if Mr Trump should remain the Republican candidate in the wake of the tape scandal, Morgan said: “It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, too late for him to replaced & he'd never quit.”
In between the tweets attacking Mr Trump’s critics, Morgan did point out that the scandal is “very bad and potentially campaign-ending” for the candidate.
Morgan later wrote: “Not defending Trump at all. Just highlighting rank hypocrisy of Brian 'it's only harmless banter when rugby players say it' Moore.”
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