Mere days after proclaiming April to be sexual assault and awareness month, and claiming he was recommitting “ourselves” to fighting it, President Trump defended Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who reportedly settled five lawsuits over claims of sexual harassment.
In an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday, writers Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman note, “Mr. Trump criticized media outlets, including The New York Times, for failing to adequately cover the Rice controversy — while singling out Fox News and the host Bill O’Reilly for praise, despite reports this week that the veteran conservative commentator settled five lawsuits filed by women claiming sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. The president then went on to defend Mr. O’Reilly, who has hosted him frequently over the years.”
“’I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,’” they quoted Trump as saying of O’Reilly. “’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.’”
Bill O’Reilly didn’t do anything wrong, says the man who was caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault because he’s a star.
Here are a few bits from the official proclamation that came from the White House that declared April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month sent to PoliticusUSA from the White House press office (my bold):
At the heart of our country is the emphatic belief that every person has unique and infinite value. We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated.
According to the Department of Justice, on average there are more than 300,000 instances of rape or other sexual assault that afflict our neighbors and loved ones every year. Behind these painful statistics are real people whose lives are profoundly affected, at times shattered, and who are invariably in need of our help, commitment, and protection.
As we recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are reminded that we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence…
My Administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence. This includes supporting victims, preventing future abuse, and prosecuting offenders to the full extent of the law…
… We recommit ourselves this month to establishing a culture of respect and appreciation for the dignity of every human being.
… In the face of sexual violence, we must commit to providing meaningful support and services for victims and survivors in the United States and around the world.
Of course, declaring April sexual assault awareness month wasn’t a Trump White House idea. Here’s a link to President Obama’s proclamation in 2016.
And sadly, Trump’s demand for millions of extra security money means that money will be taken from the Secret Service’s other areas of responsibility, one of which is missing and exploited children. Big words, little actual help.
Bill O’Reilly claimed he is a “target” for lawsuits, which is supposed to explain why he settled five suits. Five. In an environment where sexual harassment was not condemned, O’Reilly and or Fox felt they needed to settle five suits.
The sexual assaulter in chief thinks Bill O’Reilly didn’t do anything wrong. Happy sexual assault and awareness month, America.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.