We’re only five days into April and President Trump is already kicking off Sexual Assault Awareness Month by defending Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. The news comes after a recent New York Times article revealed that O’Reilly and Fox News paid out $13 million to settle complaints from women who accused O’Reilly of inappropriate behavior.
“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.”
Coincidentally, Bill O’Reilly also doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Right after the scandal broke, O’Reilly hired crisis communication specialist Mark Fabiani to help craft a response statement.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” the statement from O’Reilly reads.
To date, a total of five women have accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. But interestingly enough, one of them isn’t pursuing monetary compensation.
Wendy Walsh, a former guest on O’Reilly’s nightly talk show, recalled an incident in which the political commentator tried to get her join him in his hotel suite. Shortly after turning him down, Walsh claimed that O’Reilly retaliated against her by dropping her from his segment.
“What makes her statement so powerful is that she’s not looking for a payout,” said Dan Abrams, Chief Legal Analyst at ABC News. “So the argument that O’Reilly and his supporters have been making, which is everyone is looking for a buck, well, apparently, that’s not what she’s looking for.”
Regardless, it was inappropriate for the president of the United States to jump to O’Reilly’s defense. But considering that Trump has bragged about sexual assault in the past, unfortunately, this doesn’t come as a surprise.