Former U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell caused controversy Thursday during a taping of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight when she abruptly cut her interview short with the British journalist. O’Donnell, a conservative Tea Party member who was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Delaware last year but ultimately lost, claimed that Morgan was being “rude” with his persistent pressing on her view of gay marriage.
“Right now, what I’m trying to do is promote a book that I hope to be a very inspirational story to people who are a part of the Tea Party movement,” O’Donnell said as Morgan kept asking her questions that she felt were uncalled for. “Yes, but these issues are in your book. That’s my point. You do talk about them,” Morgan pointed out.
O’Donnell told Morgan that she had an alternate engagement that she said she was late for and cut the interview short. Then she apparently had one of her handlers stand in front of the camera and block the camera’s view of her. Morgan later added, “My first ever walk-out in 25 years of interviews. I guess viewers can decide if I was ‘rude’ or not tonight,” before the broadcast actually aired later that night.
Afterward, Morgan appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to defend his interview. “I thought I was being my normal, chivalrous British self, and then she took huge umbrage, declared I was being very rude, and walked out,” Morgan told his colleague. He did admit that he may have been a “little bit cheeky” during the interview, but denied that he was being rude.
“It looks like she has something to hide. Her views may be so extreme and contentious that it may cause her political damage,” Morgan noted.
Cooper weighed in, saying that he “found it fascinating” that she had one of her handlers stand in front of the camera to obstruct the view of her.
After the interview, O’Donnell tweeted Morgan, who replaced longtime timeslot veteran Larry King in January of this year. “Piers, thanks for the invite,” she said. “Schedule is already packed, maybe another night. No hard feelings, you cheeky bugger.”
UPDATE: O’Donnell also took a cheap shot at Morgan on her Twitter account, playing on rumors that he was part of London’s News Corp. hacking scandal. “I only agreed to go on the Piers Morgan Show because he promised not to hack my cell phone,” her tweet read.