Bill O’Reilly extracted a near apology from Donald Trump to Sen. John McCain for comments Trump made over the weekend about McCain’s war-hero status.  O’Reilly  accomplished what other TV news talking heads had failed to do to date – most recently, NBC’s Matt Lauer this morning on Today show.  O’Reilly accomplished this Herculean feat on tonight’s The O’Reilly Factor when, after a lot of back and forth with his longtime friend, O’Reilly wound things up by telling Trump:

“Okay, you got 45 seconds. I want you to say something to Senator McCain tonight, man to man, right to him — right now.”
“Well, I’m going to say this, I have respect for Senator McCain. I used to like him a lot,” Trump began, circuitously. “I supported him. I raised a lot of money for his campaign against President Obama and certainly if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back.”

“But, hopefully, I said it correctly and certainly, shortly thereafter, I said it correctly,” added Trump, who is now leading in the polls among all GOP White House hopefuls, as O’Reilly noted.

“I would like him, however, to do something with the 15,000 people that were in Phoenix about illegal immigration. They are being decimated,” Trump continued. ” These people are being decimated and I would love to see him do a much better job taking care of the veterans, Bill.”

Earlier in the interview, Trump put up stiff resistance, as he had all day, pointing the finger at McCain for starting the fracas by calling some Trump supporters “crazies.”

“Well, you know when you get personal – if you look at what John McCain said – we had 15,000 incredible Americans talking about illegal immigration, Bill, and he called them ‘crazies’. It was a very insulting thing. They were all very insulted in Phoenix the other day. It was a very insulting thing. Not good.”

He also blamed McCain for the Veterans Administration mess:

“I also see what’s happened because I’m making the rounds all over the country and I see how badly our veterans are being treated and he’s the guy. He’s supposed to be doing it. I see him on television all the time. He’s always talking, talking, but nothing gets done. These veterans are living in hell, Bill…The Veterans Administration is a scandal. It’s corrupt and what’s going on is a disgrace. Believe me, If I win, if I become president, that will end.”

McCain, Trump insisted, is “virtually the head person of Washington, he’s the head of the group that runs – somebody is doing a bad job. It’s massive corruption, it’s massive incompetence and the people are really being treated like third class citizens, Bill. He’s in charge.”