O’Reilly Claims Trump Isn’t a True Conservative

Former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly does not believe Donald Trump holds conservative views and is “center-right” at best, but only for “practical reasons.” O’Reilly made the surprise remarks during an interview with Curt Mills of the American Conservative, saying the former President “couldn’t even tell you what the conservative philosophy is.” He went on to state that Mr. Trump is a deal maker first and foremost, and the best thing he did for the country was to appoint conservative judges to the US Supreme Court. “If Hillary Clinton had won the election, she would have loaded it up with liberal judges,” he insisted.

In a separate interview with Chris Cuomo on News Nation, O’Reilly commented on a possible future Trump Presidency and admitted he believes that Mr. Trump is “running on grievance.” He added that his previous election was also grievance-based. Still, when asked if he fears retribution against enemies in a future Trump administration, O’Reilly said there are checks and balances in America’s democratic system that do not allow the President to use the Oval Office as a personal weapon.

Mr. O’Reilly furthermore remarked that Trump was “soft” on those prosecuted for the January 6 riots because they are “MAGA people.” Nevertheless, he noted his belief that some prosecutions related to incidents on Capitol Hill were an “overreach.”

The relationship between Trump and O’Reilly goes back many years, and some believe the latter helped shape the former President’s political views. For example, Chris Cillizza, writing for CNN in 2017, said O’Reilly was among the first to popularize modern distrust in the mainstream media, which became central to Trump’s popularity.

After announcing his intent to run for the White House in 2016, Mr. Trump’s first interview was with O’Reilly, and the host was subsequently chosen for the President’s first Super Bowl halftime interview in 2017. When women accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment, Trump came to his aid, telling the New York Times he was a “good guy.”