Sky News’s Dermot Murnaghan has been widely ridiculed after a “shameful” attack on Breitbart London’s editor Raheem Kassam, for not being able to find a Royal British Legion poppy in midtown Manhattan before his meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Beginning the interview, the Sky presenter demanded to know why Mr. Kassam wasn’t wearing a poppy in a photograph taken inside President-elect Trump’s living room. Despite the Breitbart London editor’s explanation, Murnaghan pushed the issue six times in an exchange that viewers called “pathetic”.
Mr. Kassam, who has been in the U.S. for a number of weeks, explained that the poppy he’s been wearing was on his other coat and had become tatty through wear. Pointing out “it isn’t just about the poppies but about helping these charities financially as well”, the Breitbart London editor reported having given a generous donation to the British Legion this year.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) November 14, 2016
In a display of obstinacy that viewers branded “bizarre”, Murnaghan scrambled to reply, remarking “Well you can tell that to the British Legion”, and brought up how two years ago Nigel Farage had said he’d wanted to attend a Cenotaph Remembrance service.
A bemused Mr. Kassam responded to the attacks saying, “I don’t know where you’re going with this, I told you it was on my other coat”, and pointed out that the outbursts “are not a question”, while viewers took to Twitter to condemn the line of questioning.
Finally, Murnaghan decided to try and change the topic after revealing that some Sky colleagues of his choose not to wear the poppy.
“Why do they choose not to wear it? I didn’t choose not to wear it,” asked Mr. Kassam, before the Sky host attempted to hastily pivot away.
“Now you don’t want to talk about it!” Mr. Kassam declared, before the pair moved on to discuss other matters.
who does Murnaghan think he is? Outrageous line of questioning and made himself look ridiculous.
— Mark (@Crooked_Daniels) November 14, 2016
This is just weird!! Can't say I'm a big fan of Raheem but fair play to him for staying calm during this #UKIP
— Fony Blair (@FonyBlair) November 14, 2016
oh silly Sky…you're making me side with them and I really don't like that. #poppyshaming
— Nicholas Greatrex (@ThisIsGREATrex) November 14, 2016
Finally able to move on and discuss the relationship between the former UKIP leader and Trump, Kassam recounted how, upon opening the door to welcome his guests, “The first words he said were, he looked at Nigel and said, ‘There he is!’ and hugged him”.
The pair “got on like a house on fire”, talking “for almost an hour”, Kassam recalled, and said that the “ostentatious lifestyle” Trump is known as having “doesn’t seem to have distracted him from getting on with what he thinks is best for the American people”.
Murnaghan then turned the topic to whether the UK government should consider using Farage and his friendship with America’s president-elect to secure good ties between the two counries.
Kassam explained that “Donald Trump’s transition team haven’t exactly been impressed by the words of special advisors to Downing Street”, but said the billionaire businessman found Theresa May to be “very polite and nice” in the 20-minute conversation they had following his election victory.
The Breitbart London editor lamented that the Conservatives, having shifted left through attempts to “detoxify” the party, have “moved further and further away” from Trump’s Republicans, who Kassam noted are the Tories’ natural ally.
To build a strong relationship with the president-elect and his team, Kassam suggested that it’s time for Downing Street to “eat a bit of humble pie” and appoint Farage as a conduit between the two countries.
“Nigel puts his country first and he’s not concerned about getting paid or getting plaudits for this, he just wants to do what’s best for the nation,” he asserted.
Breitbart London revealed on Friday how top Downing Street staffers used their Twitter accounts to denigrate Trump and promote Hillary Clinton during the race for the White House, with one key aide even using the platform to say he did not want anyone to be “reaching out” to the president-elect.