President Donald Trump is rallying to the defense of beleaguered Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
As news of the host being hit with multiple accusations of sexual harassment and the network moving to shell out as much as $13 million to stop several of his accusers from going public with their claims have spread, more than 20 commercial sponsors have pulled their support from his highly popular conservative news show.
But on Wednesday, Trump signaled he still stands behind The O’Reilly Factor host, telling the New York Times, “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person.”
The president later added, “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
Like O’Reilly, Trump has previously faced accusations of sexual harassment, his coming in the form of complaints voiced by at least six women, among them a former PEOPLE magazine reporter and a contestant on his The Apprentice show.
Trump also made news during his Republican run for president when a decade-plus old Access Hollywood video surfaced showing him making derogatory and vulgar comments about women.
Trump also rallied to the defense of former Fox News chief Roger Allies when he faced similar accusations, telling reporters he found a series of sexual harassment allegations lodged against him to be “unfounded.”
“I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” he added.
“Totally unfounded, based on what I read.”
Both O’Reilly and Ailes have repeatedly denied all the accusations made against them, though Ailes was forced to resign from the network he helped build from the ground.
Still, neither Fox News or O’Reilly have addressed the matter on the air and the latter is still largely seen as the face of the entire right-leaning network.
More recently, O’Reilly has seemingly sought to re-enforce that strategy of silence over social media by making no mention of his ongoing troubles and only tweeting about unrelated events, as if nothing was going on behind the scenes.
That approach is similar to the one the company adopted during Ailes’ struggles last summer, which culminated with him being sued by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson for harassment.
Over time, several of the network’s on-air personalities staunchly defended Ailes, though groups like the National Organization for Women instantly called for him to be fired.
Ultimately, Carlson reached an out-of-court settlement with 21st Century Fox for $20 million that also included a public apology.
The settlement also ended the prospect that Carlson would take the stand in a suit against Ailes or share any evidence of harassment she had against him. Several news outlets reported she had recorded some of their meetings.
“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve,” company officials said in a statement.
At the same time, the company also settled a “handful” of other deals stemming from suits filed by women alleging harassment on the part of Ailes.
In all, more than 20 women reportedly spoke with the attorneys in voicing complaints about Ailes alleged inappropriate behavior.
After officially leaving Fox, Ailes went on to serve as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, helping him to prep for his then upcoming debates against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump recently declared the month of April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, vowing that his administration “will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence.”
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]