Well before anyone took Trump serious as a presidential candidate, he was a consistent guest on The O’Reilly Factor. But beyond that, the two are old friends. Like Trump, O’Reilly is embroiled in a harassment scandal; though it’s much less publicized. Few people realize that when Andrea Tanteros accused Roger Ailes (the former CEO of Fox News) of sexual harassment she also claimed that O’Reilly engaged in similar behavior. Somehow, despite these allegations, he’s been able to continue to function as if nothing has happened while his former boss was asked to leave within days.
But despite their being old friends, frequent colleges and similarly inclined to fondle those around them, Bill O’Reilly has begun to distance himself from Trump politically. In the last interview that Trump did on O’Reilly’s show the two seemed more argumentative than usual. And since then Trump has not been back. But O’Reilly saved his harshest critique for an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
He specifically mentioned Trump’s ridiculous comment about “taking the oil” from Iraq and said that he hopes Chris Wallace will force him to explain himself on Wednesday. When asked about Trump’s claim that the election is rigged, O’Reilly quickly dismissed it as ridiculous. He characterized Trump’s latest campaign gimmicks as “whiny” and said that he wished there were some sort of alarm that went off when Trump started one of his rants.
In general, O’Reilly feels that Trump’s message has gone off the rails and he insisted that Trump’s only shot at turning things around this late in the game is to actually address the issues rather than engage in the sorts of nonsense we’ve all come to associate with him. He was notably silent on the ever-growing number of women who’ve accused Trump of sexual assault. But then again, why wouldn’t he be? He’s sort of in the same boat himself.
O’Reilly is a sort of intellectual clearing house for the Republican party. He’s all establishment in terms of demeanor, but he loves the reactionary politics of the new right. Increasingly, there’s no middle ground for him to maneuver through as his party slowly destroys itself. His advice for Trump is exactly the advice that anyone in the Republican establishment would give him: stick to your platform and calm the f*ck down. But I think he knows that Trump won’t; and honestly I’d be a little disappointed if he did.
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