Piers Morgan and senator Greg Ball ended up in a combative exchange (viewable in the video below) on Monday’s Piers Morgan Tonight.
The subject up for debate? Whether Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be tortured by authorities.
The source of the argument was an April 19 tweet from Ball that endorsed torturing Tsarnaev. The New York State senator’s message read:
“So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?”
After CNN host Morgan read out the tweet, the debate began civilly enough but soon descended into name-calling.
Morgan suggested Ball was being a “jerk” while Ball returned with an apparent jab about Morgan’s British accent.
Throughout the exchange, Ball maintained that he did believe Tsarnaev should be tortured even though he’s an American citizen.
The full transcript can be read below.
PIERS MORGAN: You tweeted this. You said, “So scumbag number two in custody; who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?” Do you still believe that?
GREG BALL: Absolutely. At the end of the day – you know, I think you interview a lot of politicians. A lot of politicians are full of crap. They’re scared of their own shadow and scared to say what they feel. I think that I share the feelings of a lot of red-blooded Americans who believe that if we can save even one innocent American life, including we’ve seen the killing of children, that they would use – and this is just for me – that they would use every tool at their disposal to do so.
MORGAN: But he’s an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He committed a domestic crime in Boston, and he’ll be tried in a US civilian criminal court system.
MORGAN: How you going to torture him?
BALL: I mean, dude, you’re talking to a guy that supports death penalty for cop killers, terrorists.
MORGAN: Yes, but how would you torture him?
BALL: Piers, I would support – I’m talking about me. If you want to talk to the president of the United States about his policies next time you golf or go play basketball with him, you can ask him. I’m telling you as Greg Ball, I’m telling you as Greg Ball personally –
MORGAN: I understand you’re Greg Ball.
BALL: If you would put me in the room with anybody from the most current scumbags to Osama bin Laden, I’m telling you what I would do. As far as the policy of the United States, you got to take it up with Obama.
MORGAN: I understand. But if you start to torture an American citizen for committing a domestic crime in America, you are crossing a Rubicon.
BALL: Can I ask you a question? What would you do if you were given the opportunity?
BALL: Before Osama bin Laden was shot, if you had 30 minutes in the room, what would you do? Would you play cards with Osama bin Laden?
MORGAN: It’s really a question –
BALL: What would you do?
MORGAN: Let me put this to you.
BALL: No. You answer this. If you met this scumbag –
MORGAN: I’m actually doing the interview, though.
BALL: If you met this scumbag –
MORGAN: No, I really am.
BALL: – before he killed these people and turned people into amputees, what would you do, play cards? Maybe I should have said it in a British accent. This man killed innocent men, women and children.
MORGAN: Can you stop being such a jerk?
BALL: What would you do? You get paid for it. I figured I would give you a taste of your own medicine.
MORGAN: Seriously –
MORGAN: Because you tweeted this to the world. I’m curious what you think. Your behavior so far has been really offensive.
BALL: Because you don’t like it when you don’t have another bobblehead that you can beat up and treat like a coward? The reality is is these men killed innocent men, women and children. As a red-blooded American, I said who out there if it would save an innocent –
MORGAN: But you’re not answering my questions.
BALL: – would not use torture. I would.
MORGAN: I understand all the gung-ho language you’re using. Here’s the point I’m making to you. Do you realize that if you torture this man, what you’re basically endorsing is the torture of American citizens for committing domestic crimes inside America? Would you as a politician want to bring that in as a standard matter of practice in your country, yes or no?
BALL: What I am saying is that as an individual –
MORGAN: Yes or no?
BALL: If given the opportunity –
MORGAN: Yes or no?
BALL: – to be in a room with somebody like Osama bin Laden, it would be me, Osama bin Laden and a baseball bat. And yes, I would use torture.
MORGAN: It’s very macho.
BALL: It’s not about being macho. If I wanted to be macho, I would challenge you to an arm wrestling contest. I’m telling you how I feel. That’s what I said on Twitter. And that’s what I said today. You can ask it 100 times over. I will give you the same answer.
Piers Morgan later tweeted about the interview, telling his followers:
Quite extraordinary interview with @ball4ny – called me ‘dude’, mocked my accent, and challenged me to an arm wrestle. Weird man. #CNN
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 23, 2013
To which Ball responded:
@piersmorgan it was fun! Lets do it again soon! Smile.
— Greg Ball (@ball4ny) April 23, 2013
You can watch Piers Morgan and Greg Morgan’s fiery exchange below: