Political leaders of this country who got us into the war in Iraq are “killers” on par with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump suggested in his interview with Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly. Today’s traditional pre-Super Bowl POTUS interview was radioactive before it even started airing at 1 PM PT, thanks to a preview Fox News aired Saturday in which Trump was asked why he respects Putin.
“He’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer,” O’Reilly noted.
Responded Trump: “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think, our country’s so innocent?”
In today’s broadcast, more of that exchange was shown. In the new footage, O’Reilly responded to Trump’s gob-smacking remark, saying, “I don’t know any government leaders that are killers,” in this country.
“Well – take a look at what we’ve done too,” Trump shot back. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning –”
“Mistakes are different than–” O’Reilly started to interrupt.
“A lot of mistakes – OK – but a lot of people were killed,” Trump insisted. “So a lot of killers around, believe me.”
Expect much TV-news mastication over the next several hours as to whether Trump just accused former President George W. Bush of war crimes.
While only lasting about 10 minutes, the interview was so packed with topics it played like a speed-dating session.
Trump said his reality-TV primetime special announcing Neil Gorsuch as his SCOTUS pick went very well.
The implementation of his travel ban on people traveling to and from seven countries with mostly Muslim populations also went very well, he insisted.
“I think it was very smooth. You had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers,” Trump said. “And all we did was vet those people very very carefully.”
O’Reilly suggested some of his people “didn’t really know what the order was.”
“Well that’s not what General Kelly said,” Trump snapped back. “General Kelly, who’s now Secretary Kelly, he said he totally knew, he was aware of it, and it was very smooth.”
The Iran deal “I think is the worst deal I have ever seen negotiated,” Trump said again as he has often said before. “We gave them $1.7M in cash, which is unheard of, and we put the money up, and have nothing to show for it.”
Asked if he would “tear it up,” Trump responded, “We’ll see what happens,” adding, “I can say this: they have total disregard for our country, they are the No. 1 terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place – and weapons. And – can’t do that.”
“I think they have total disrespect for our country…That deal – I would’ve lived with it if they said, ‘OK, we’re all together now.’ But it was just the opposite. It’s like they’re emboldened: they follow our planes, they circle our ships with their little boats, and they lost respect because they can’t believe anybody could be so stupid as to make a deal like that.”
Asked if he did, as some press have reported, tell Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto that if his army couldn’t handle the drug cartels, U.S. Army soldiers would, Trump answered, “We have to do something about the cartels. I did talk to him about it. I want to help him with it. I think he’s a very good man. We have a very good relationship, as you probably know. He seemed very willing to get help from us because he has got a problem.”
But when asked what kind of a tariff he is going to levy on Mexico to pay for that wall, Trump ducked and began to boast about the jobs moving back to this country, leading to an amusing exchange between the two friends, in which Trump insisted the companies “want to do what’s right,” while O’Reilly insisted, “Yeah, you intimidated them, they’re afraid of you.”
TV news outlets will feast for hours about this interview (there’s still Parts 2 and 3 to come, airing on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, on Monday and Tuesday); having already dined for a day on the preview clip.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted this:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning, called for an FBI investigation into Trump’s connections with Russia. “I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump,” she said.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’m not going to critique every utterance of the president,” when asked about Trump’s moral-equivalency gag.
And Veep Mike Pence insisted, to CBS’s Face The Nation host John Dickerson, that what Trump was trying to say is “Let’s start afresh with Putin, and start afresh with Russia.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s supporter-in-chief Chris Christie assured Dickerson, “I know President Trump believes America is morally superior to Russia.”