President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended Fox News host Bill O’Reilly against new revelations that he, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox had paid a total of $13 million in settlements to five women who accused him of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump told the New York Times. “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 had his own run-in with sexual harassment accusations. Last October he came under fire after an Access Hollywood tape surfaced in which he said he grabbed women by their genitals. “I don’t even wait,” Trump can be heard saying on the tape. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything.”
Trump’s defense of O’Reilly was similar to his defense of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes last year, when Ailes was facing a litany of sexual harassment allegations.
“I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” Trump said of the accusations against Ailes. “Totally unfounded, based on what I read.”
Ailes was forced to resign from Fox News just one week after that interview.
Following the O’Reilly controversy, Fox News is facing mounting public pressure from accusers, advertisers and women’s rights groups to go further in addressing the allegations against the conservative host.
More than 20 companies had pulled their advertising from “The O’Reilly Factor” as of Wednesday. Lisa Bloom, the lawyer for one of O’Reilly’s accusers, has called for an independent investigation of Fox News. The National Organization for Women has called for him to be fired.
Trump, meanwhile, keeps defending his friends at Fox News.
Well, it takes a misogynist to defend one.