Donald Trump 'basically a right-wing Richard Branson' says Piers Morgan
Donald Trump is a "right-wing Richard Branson" who would be "an awful lot more moderate" in the White House than he is on the campaign trail, his friend Piers Morgan has said.
Mr Trump looks set to storm to victory in the race to become the Republican presidential nominee after winning a string of endorsements on Super Tuesday.
But the property tycoon turned politician has sparked widespread outrage with some of his more controversial policies, which include building a wall to stop illegal immigration from Mexico, and a short-term ban on Muslim immigrants.
Mr Morgan, who struck up a close friendship with the Republican after appearing on his show The Apprentice in America, compared Mr Trump to the popular British entrepreneur.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I read Trump is going to be the new Hitler, and I find that an absolutely facile way of looking at a guy who is basically a right-wing Richard Branson.
"And American politics right now really does need somebody who is good at doing deals.
"Barack Obama has been paralysed, from gun control onwards, in the Senate in his inability to actually get anything done.
"Trump, whether you love him or hate him, is one of the great deal-makers in the world. And if he was in charge of the White House, at the very least, I would pay good money to see him in a room with Vladimir Putin striking a deal."
Mr Morgan, who spent four years in the US hosting a talk show on CNN and is now US editor for the MailOnline, is a vocal critic of America's gun rules and said he would not personally choose to vote for Mr Trump.
But he believes the businessman would drop his more controversial policies if he made it to the White House.
Mr Morgan said: "I got to know him when I took part in the first series of Celebrity Apprentice. I was in the show for about five weeks and I spent most of that time watching Trump in his natural habitat of his boardroom, and I was very impressed with him.
"I saw a pretty smart guy who knew how to play that boardroom of very varied contestants like a concert conductor.
"I saw somebody who had a warmth, a good humour, a sense of perspective.
"So when I see Trump being more outrageous in some of the things he is saying and doing now, I think he's just doing that to grab media attention.
"I think the reality of a Trump presidency, if it came to it, would be an awful lot more moderate."
Mr Trump was initially greeted with derision when he announced his candidature.
But he has proved hugely popular, with his campaign rallies looking more like rock and roll concerts, and is now the hot favourite to become the Republican Party's official candidate.