The White House rejected a petition to deport CNN’s Piers Morgan for his controversial statements about gun control in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook tragedy.
“Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Wednesday.
The petition, entitled “Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for Attacking 2nd Amendment,” received over 109,000 signatures. The White House is required to respond to petitions receiving more than 25,000 signatures in 30 days.
Morgan called on Americans to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for rifles and handguns, both on air during his prime-time show and on the Internet. He sent several tweets with the hashtag #GunControlNow, urging Americans to demand legislation and faulting American laws for past tragedies.
“The Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press,” Carney said.
The petition accused Morgan of “exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”
Viewership for Morgan’s prime-time show, “Piers Morgan Tonight” took a drastic hit following his controversial remarks, according to Nielsen TV Ratings. Morgan’s show had a viewership of 2,255,000 on Friday Dec. 14, the day of the Sandy Hook Tragedy. The following Monday, Morgan’s viewership had fallen to 962,000.
Following the White House statement, Morgan tweeted “BREAKING NEWS: President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported. Mf”
Two more petitions to keep Morgan in the United States have been filed on the WhiteHouse.gov website.