Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think the media have been fair to Hillary Clinton.
“I think they’ve been aggressive toward Hillary because they don’t much like her,” the Fox News host told The Daily Caller, while discussing how he thinks the media have so far covered the 2016 presidential race. “They would prefer [Vice President Joe] Biden and, I mean, [Vermont Sen.] Bernie Sanders, my God. There’s a lot of agendas running around. I don’t like that.”
In the first part of TheDC’s interview with O’Reilly, the top-rated cable news host discussed his new book, “Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency.” In this second part, O’Reilly opens up about a wide arrange of topics, including his thoughts of Donald Trump, who is a personal friend of his in addition to being the 2016 Republican frontrunner.
On the stump, Trump has compared himself to Ronald Reagan, as have a few right-of-center conservative commentators. Asked whether from his study of Reagan, O’Reilly thinks there is any comparison to be made, he replied: “Only in theater.”
“They’re both good presenters,” O’Reilly said. “But Reagan was an establishment Republican and Trump is a populist. So their styles politically are very different.”
Last week, Trump took to Twitter to criticize O’Reilly for hosting anti-Trump guests on his show. Asked whether he has talked to Trump since then, O’Reilly said, “I always talk to him.”
“I laughed at him,” O’Reilly went on. “I say, ‘Look, I’m going have guests on the show. Some people like you; some people don’t. Am I supposed to not have guests who don’t like you? Come on.'”
See the full transcript of the second part of TheDC’s interview with O’Reilly below, where the talk show host discusses how Reagan would fare in today’s Republican Party, whether he think Trump really wants to be president and whether he would ever consider running for political office himself:
The Daily Caller: You just immersed yourself in the Reagan-era for your book, but on your show you obviously cover the current political scene. Do you believe that if Reagan was alive today and ran for president in this era that he would have won the Republican nomination?
O’Reilly: I do. I think Reagan was very photogenic, very telegenic, had a tremendous memory, was a good actor. All of those skills are needed today. One of the things that I admire personally about Reagan — and I own a lot of letters written by Ronald Reagan by the way, I own them — was that he was not a phony. He believed what he believed. We traced back, particularly the communistic stuff, why he believed it, and he stuck it. He wasn’t changing and wishy-washying all around. I think at this point in history, Americans are looking for someone like that. So I think if Reagan were alive today, he would have a very good chance to win.
TheDC: Some conservative commentators have compared Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan. Others, in fairness, find the comparison absurd. From your study of Reagan, do you see any resemblance between Trump and Reagan?
O’Reilly: Only in theater. They’re both good presenters. But Reagan was an establishment Republican and Trump is a populist. So their styles politically are very different.
TheDC: I think you say on your show you have been friends with Trump from time. What do you make of his candidacy? Do you think he really wants to be president?
O’Reilly: Yes, yes, I do. I think he’s been good for the political discourse. He’s brought a lot of people to the table that wouldn’t pay attention before. Voters can make up their own mind about whether he could do what he says he wants to do, but what he said he wants to do is pretty good. You know, he wants to re-establish American power. He wants to make the economy vibrant again. He wants to protect the Southern border. These are pretty good things. Now can he do them? You have to decide as a voter whether, you know, rhetoric can match policy. It’s not always easy to do what you say you want to do, but that’s for the individual voters. But the stuff that he says he wants to do, I think, is good overall. Mass deportations, that’ll never happen.
TheDC: Do you think he believes that or do you think he …
O’Reilly: I don’t know whether he believes it or not. I can’t read his mind, but I think if he sat down and you said, “Listen, nobody is going to — they would block that legally in 30 seconds. and as president you can’t override the judicial branch, so you’re not going to be able to deport anybody.” That would never happen in this country. Ever.
TheDC: As you know, Trump has been a prolific tweeter. Last week, he criticized you on Twitter because of some of the anti-Trump guests you had on your show. Did you talk to him about this?
O’Reilly: I always talk to him. I laughed at him. I say, “Look, I’m going have guests on the show. Some people like you; some people don’t. Am I supposed to not have guests who don’t like you? Come on.”
TheDC: What did he say to you?
O’Reilly: He laughs.
TheDC: How well do you think the media has covered the 2016 presidential election?
O’Reilly: Well, I mean, I don’t like the media’s rooting interest. That bothers me. And that’s pervasive on the Internet, and even in the network news. They cherry pick what stories they’re going to cover. I think they’ve been aggressive toward Hillary because they don’t much like her. They would prefer [Vice President Joe] Biden and, I mean, Bernie Sanders, my God. There’s a lot of agendas running around. I don’t like that. There are a lot of really good political reporters too. I think that if you want to find out really what these people are about you can, but it’s not easy.
TheDC: Would you ever consider leaving your show and running for office?
O’Reilly: I wouldn’t run for office. I don’t like the money game. If I leave, I’ll probably teach. I would go back because I used to be a high school teacher. I’d go back to teaching and try to spread my experience around so maybe younger people can benefit. But I take it day-by-day and we’ll see what’s going on. Right now, the job is still engaging. Television is changing fast. It’s not going to be what it is now. In two years, it’s going to be totally different. When I don’t want to do it, I won’t do it. Simple as that.
This interview has been very lightly edited for clarity and brevity.