Donald Trump defended his old friend, Bill O’Reilly, on Wednesday after the Fox News host was criticized for harassment claims.
“I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” Trump said as he assured his fellow-scandal survivor that he has his full support. Bill O’Reilly received a maelstrom of backlash following his involvement in a sexual scandal claimed by five women. It was reported that the network and O’Reilly had to shell out millions for damages and settlement of the issue. Yet, O’Reilly had to face the consequences of his actions, as two dozen advertisers withdraw their support from his show.
Nevertheless, it’s not all black-and-blue for Bill O’Reilly as President Donald Trump appeared to be giving him a pat on the back, despite the criticisms.
Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly
“I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” says President Trump on Wednesday at the Oval Office. He even praised the Fox News host for being “a good person” and said that he shouldn’t agree to the settlements. They have reportedly been chums way before Trump led the federal government. The pair attended baseball games together, Trump complimented Bill on his politically-opinionated books, and always made time for prominent interviews with the network. It’s not surprising, as they have a lot in common and the recent commonality they shared is dealing with sexual harassment claims.
According to a previous report by the New York Times, O’Reilly and Fox News were under fire after five women, who were past employees of the network, accused Bill of inappropriate sexual behavior and harassment. To appease their claims, O’Reilly and the Fox News parent company, 21st Century Fox, revealed that the settlements reached about $13 million for the damages incurred.
With his longtime friend in distress, the Republican president came to the rescue. Donald Trump defended Bill O’Reilly amidst revelation of the scandal.
“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. I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person.”
So, who is the real victim here? Bill O’Reilly or the five women? This remark by the president is very contradicting to this month’s theme: “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” as proclaimed by Trump. He even emphasized its mission, which is to “develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes” and protect women and children who are part of the “vulnerable groups.” But with the way Trump is defending Bill O’Reilly’s actions, it seemed that this month’s theme is just a mockery by Trump.
Trump’s comments sparked derision from women’s groups
The president has been in the same shoes as Bill O’Reilly. Trump was once the subject of condemnation after a leaked video of his interview with Access Hollywood was released, where he was heard bragging about the women he has assaulted. He went on to boast how being a celebrity gave him some sort of status quo wherein “you can do anything” to women, including grabbing “them by the p***y.” Unfortunately, the tape didn’t dampen Trump’s presidential chances. Trump’s support of Bill O’Reilly’s during these allegations prove that he treasures friendship more than millions of American women who suffered abuse and discrimination.
Lenora Lapidus, the director of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union explained the following.
“The problem of sexual harassment is huge and impacts women in a variety of settings across the country. His comments were dismissive of a real problem women face and reinforce the typical response of not taking sexual harassment seriously.”
Although Bill O’Reilly managed to have a few supporters behind him, it was only Donald Trump who addressed the issue and voiced his support for the news anchor.
[Featured Image by Jim Mclsaac/Getty Images]