Bill O’Reilly spent about 15 minutes of airtime on tonight’s O’Reilly Factor trying to convince Donald Trump to participate in the Fox News GOP debate from Des Moines, Iowa.
O’Reilly’s message to Trump during the intense interview on the Fox News Channel was that the current poll leader for the Republican presidential nomination was letting America down and missing an opportunity by walking away from the debate tomorrow evening by letting himself become sidetracked by petty issues. “You lose an opportunity to persuade people that you are a strong leader.”
Donald Trump has already announced that he will be hosting a separate rally elsewhere in Des Moines (at Drake University) to run simultaneously with the GOP debate in which he will raise money for U.S. military veterans, particularly those wounded in combat.
The Fox News anchor also declared sarcastically that he will demand repayment from Trump, his long-time friend/acquaintance, for all the vanilla milkshakes he bought the billionaire businessman in the past if he doesn’t appear at the debate. Both men don’t drink alcohol.
Despite a public feud with Fox News, Trump will still appear on a previously scheduled interview with Bill O’Reilly https://t.co/qANt8UAWeM— POLITICO (@politico) January 27, 2016
Although Trump has been feuding with Megyn Kelly since their August 6 disputatious encounter in the record-setting first GOP debate, he seems more ticked off with a snarky press release issued by the network, allegedly personally written by CEO Roger Ailes.
“I was not treated well by Fox; they came out with this ridiculous PR statement which was like drawn up by a child, and it was a taunt…I have zero respect for Megyn Kelly. I don’t thinks she’s very good at what she does; I think she’s highly overrated.”
The above-mentioned August debate from Cleveland set an all-time record for a non-sports cable event with 24 million viewers, primarily — whether you like him or hate him — because of Donald Trump’s participation.
Trump also maintained that the Obama administration would have been better off by walking away from the Iran deal rather than give that country, which is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist sponsor, so many concessions without getting much of anything in return.
“I don’t like being taken advantage of…In this case I was being taken advantage of by Fox. I don’t like that. Now when I’m representing the country, if I win, I’m not going to let our country be taken advantage of. … It’s a personality trait, but I don’t think it’s a bad personality trait.”
Given that Trump is still bristling over Megyn Kelly’s accusation of misogyny, O’Reilly recalled that in the 2012 presidential debate cycle, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich turned a hostile question from a CNN moderator about his personal life to his advantage. “He gave the example from 2012, when former Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked an embarrassing question by a CNN debate moderator at a South Carolina debate about allegations he had an open marriage. Gingrich shut the moderator down and went on to win South Carolina, O’Reilly noted,” the Hill explained.
Near the end of the interview, O’Reilly asked the GOP front-runner if he would reconsider ditching the debate, which further irritated Trump because it violated their off-camera understanding, but interestingly enough, the ex-Celebrity Apprentice star did leave the door open slightly by claiming that he’s not walking away and instead Fox News pushed him away.
“Even though you and I had an agreement that you wouldn’t ask me that, which we did … it’s up to Fox. It’s not up to me, Bill.”
Most of Trump’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination seem to believe that Trump is bluffing and, in the end, will show up tomorrow night on the debate stage after all, Politico reported. “Trump’s decision to once again wage war on Fox and Kelly so close to the Iowa caucuses is either a shrewd one or a boneheaded one, depending on who you ask. While some are contending that Trump risks coming off as a coward walking away from a fight, it’s undeniable that he’s robbing the media oxygen from his rivals.”
Watch the Bill O’Reilly-Donald Trump interview in its entirety and draw your own conclusions.
[Photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP)