It is easy to understand how the camaraderie between Donald Trump and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly may have bloomed. Both men seem to lack the filter that most humans develop through social interaction, and are known more for their brash statements than sharp analysis or coherent arguments.
They met each other in the 1990s. Trump was a businessman who had constructed the image of himself as the no-nonsense, cunning dealmaker. O’Reilly, who was working for the tabloid "Inside Edition," found Trump to be willing tabloid fodder. The men clicked and over the years and their friendship flourished.
There is another similarity that cannot be glossed over; both powerful men have recently found themselves entangled by allegations of sexual assault. Apart from boasting about grabbing women by their genitals, Trump has been accused of marital rape and raping a minor girl.
Likewise, O’Reilly and Fox News are reported to have settled five sexual harassment lawsuits.
The POTUS, however, has made it very clear where his sympathies lie.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump told The New York Times in an interview.
“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.”
Trump, even now as the president, has let his personal preferences cloud his judgment of a serious harassment case, and let the victims know that he, as supposedly the most powerful man of this country, would not even consider their grievances only because the man accused of being the source of distress and pain for them happens to be his close friend.
“I’m saddened reading your comments,” former Fox Business host Rebecca Diamond, who had accused O’Reilly, said in a tweet on Thursday. “Truly disappointed and vilified all over again. Such comments tell women they won’t be believed.”
Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC was disgusted by Trump’s defense of his long-time friend.
“The advertisers are speaking and women are speaking and I think it’s going to work out — but the president shouldn’t have done that,” said Brzezinski.