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Sunday 25 October 2020

Trump, Morgan, And Transactional Politics

Only last April, former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan was laying into Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, who was supposed to be his pal, over the latter’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. “President Trump’s batshit crazy Coronavirus ‘cure’ theories are not just shockingly senseless and stupid - they’re going to kill people” howled the headline of one of Morgan’s many Mail Online columns.

Donald, where's yer hairspray?

As a result, it appeared that The Donald had had enough, and had unfollowed Morgan on Twitter. Mail Online, and the Murdoch Sun, leapt into action and inflated this non-event into yet more clickbait. Yet still a nation failed to mourn. Worse, more than one alert Tweeter checked out Morgan’s and Trump’s follow lists and found that there had been no unfollowing. In the meantime, Morgan remained critical of Trump.

But then came a moment of realisation: Morgan needed to do no more than take one look at FiveThirtyEight’s polling average to see that Trump was trailing Democrat challenger Joe Biden by a long, long way (yesterday, the margin was 9%, and it had recently been over 10%). Someone who, like Morgan, had been close to the Trump administration would not find themselves in favour with a Biden White House.

And what's more, Ron

That would mean no more of those exclusive interviews. No more tours of Air Force One. No more access. And for a shameless name-dropper like Piers Morgan, that’s not a good prospect. And so, last Monday, the criticism of Trump ended and instead, Morgan began to lay into Biden. By suggesting the Murdoch New York Post claims about Biden’s son Hunter were possibly genuine. Which they almost certainly are not.

The story was offered first to Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and they actually declined to run it. Some of the NYP’s journalists refused to put their by-lines to it. And then, it was revealed that the story’s chief cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani, had been the subject of an ambush by Sasha Baron Cohen in his second Borat movie.

So that was Morgan expending a significant part of his remaining credibility for very little return. But he was not downhearted: back he came after the final TV debate, proclaimingLast night’s tamed and muzzled Trump exposed nice-guy Biden’s flaws in a way that the ranting deluded Trump totally failed to do - and may just yet save his presidency”.

Yeah, right. Was he serious? “Instead of the ranting, deluded, narcissistic buffoon we got last time, this was a far calmer, measured, focused, well-prepared, non-scary and even empathetic performance by the president”. Brutus Moriatus, this man is a bit of a crawler.

Would this have any effect? We did not have to wait long to find out. Yesterday, eight days after Morgan had plugged his latest book, telling “My new book 'Wake Up: Why the world has gone nuts' is out now in hardback, ebook & audiobook read by me”, Trump duly endorsed it: “An Apprentice Champion. Check out his very interesting new book!

Thus a glimpse into the world of transactional politics: should The Donald somehow pull next month’s Presidential Election out of the fire, Morgan will still be able to brag that he has the access, that the bloke at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in DC is his pal.

Pity he never does anything useful with the access except brag about it, though.

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