O’Reilly Tells Off NBC: The Press Wants Trump to Lose

On Tuesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on whether Donald Trump should release his tax returns: “Speaking of transparency....Are you on the record as Donald Trump should turn over those tax returns?” O’Reilly pushed back: “No matter what he does, he puts his tax returns out, the press – which wants him to lose....Trump knows whatever he does in that area, he’s going to be destroyed.”

Guthrie argued: “But isn't the principle transparency? Put them out and so be it, let the chips fall.” O’Reilly replied: “There is a principle involved, there is. But his tax returns are so complicated because of all his private holdings. If I were Trump, I wouldn't put them out. As a journalist, I'd like to see them.”

It was strange that Guthrie was suddenly interested in Trump’s tax records since she thought the topic was irrelevant just seven months ago. In the midst of the Republican primary in February, after Mitt Romney demanded Trump release his tax returns, Guthrie asked: “Is there a bombshell there? Does it matter for Trump? Who cares?”

On Tuesday, the interview with O’Reilly began with Guthrie asking about “conspiracy theories” about Hillary Clinton’s health: “Do you feel like she's sufficiently addressed it or do you think this feeds into some of those so-called conspiracy theories, or actual conspiracy theories, that there’s something much deeper going on with her health?”

O’Reilly observed: “Well, I think the problem for the Clinton campaign is they have to decide whether they’re just going to be stonewalling everybody all the time or they’re just going to be up front....What’s the big deal? I don't understand all the secrecy.”

It was at that point that Guthrie felt the need to change the subject to Trump’s taxes.

Tell the Truth 2016

<<< Please consider helping NewsBusters financially with your tax-deductible contribution today >>>

<<< Thank you for your support! >>>

Moments later, fill-in co-host Willie Geist asked about Clinton’s nasty attack on Trump supporters: “Let's talk about the ‘basket of deplorables’ comment....she said at the outset half of Trump's supporters being racists, xenophobes....Big problem for her?” O’Reilly noted: “I'm thinking to myself, why would you put yourself in that position to put – give Trump this big hammer? And that’s exactly what happened.”

The O’Reilly Factor host was on the NBC morning show to promote his new book, Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan. O’Reilly demanded a certain NFL quarterback read the book:

Well, I want Colin Kaepernick to read this book. I want the guy who won't stand up during the National Anthem to read Killing the Rising Sun and to understand how much brave Americans sacrificed to free millions of people all over the world, in the Japanese theater and the European theater. I want Colin Kaepernick – and I'm sending him a copy – to read every single word of this book and tell me he shouldn't be standing up during the National Anthem. The bravery and the sacrifice that Americans made in World War II to free this world from Hitler and Hirohito was unprecedented in human history. And I'm tired of seeing our country besmirched when people don't know what they're talking about. So everybody needs to read Killing the Rising Sun.

Here is a full transcript of the September 13 segment:

7:40 AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: We're back now at 7:40 with Fox News host and best-selling author Bill O'Reilly.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: His “killing” series of books are bestsellers. The newest is called Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan. Bill O’Reilly, good morning to you.

GEIST: Morning, Bill.

BILL O’REILLY: Guys, thanks for having me in.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Factor Non-Fiction; O’Reilly on Campaign, Fox & “Killing The Rising Sun”]   

GUTHRIE: Always happy to have you and talk about your book, but we always have to start with politics. A lot going on. Obviously there’s been this health scare with Hillary Clinton. Do you feel like she's sufficiently addressed it or do you think this feeds into some of those so-called conspiracy theories, or actual conspiracy theories, that there’s something much deeper going on with her health?  

O’REILLY: Well, I think the problem for the Clinton campaign is they have to decide whether they’re just going to be stonewalling everybody all the time or they’re just going to be up front. I mean, nobody – no sane person begrudges Hillary Clinton if she gets ill. I'm amazed that both Clinton and Trump can do what they do. I mean, they never stop. These people are in the air, they’re under pressure, it’s always stress. I'm amazed that they are able to do it. So if somebody gets ill, you just put out a press release saying, “Mrs. Clinton has a little pneumonia, she’ll be out for a couple of days.” And that’s it. What’s the big deal? I don't understand all the secrecy.

GUTHRIE: Speaking of transparency. I mean, do you think – I can't remember what your position is. Are you on the record as Donald Trump should turn over those tax returns?

O’REILLY: Well, I mean, I understand why he isn't. So I haven't taken a position on it because he can't win. No matter what he does, he puts his tax returns out, the press – which wants him to lose, alright –

GUTHRIE: Isn't that true of anybody who puts out their tax returns?

O’REILLY: No. Mike Pence put out his tax returns, nobody cared. Trump is – Trump knows whatever he does in that area, he’s going to be destroyed.

GUTHRIE: But isn't the principle transparency? Put them out and so be it, let the chips fall.

O’REILLY: There is a principle involved, there is. But his tax returns are so complicated because of all his private holdings. If I were Trump, I wouldn't put them out. As a journalist, I'd like to see them.

GEIST: Let's talk about the “basket of deplorables” comment. You put that together with the sickness, for Hillary Clinton it's been a tough few days for her. She was talking about – she said at the outset half of Trump's supporters being racists, xenophobes.

O’REILLY: First of all – yeah –

GEIST: Big problem for her?

O’REILLY: I was so angry – I was so angry that I didn't think up the line “basket of deplorables,” I love that line! Okay? However, it was written for her on a Teleprompter and she had to know that if she said it – just like Romney got hammered, “the 47% won’t vote for me because they want stuff” – she was going to get hammered. So I'm thinking to myself, why would you put yourself in that position to put – give Trump this big hammer? And that’s exactly what happened.

GEIST: Was it a window into her and they way she feels about certain parts of the population?

O’REILLY: Nah, I don't do that. I'm not a psychologist. Dr. Phil would probably know. I don’t know, alright? All I know is it was not a good political move to say it.

GUTHRIE: We have to ask you about what's been going at Fox News. Obviously Roger Ailes is no longer there in the wake of these sexual harassment allegations and revelations. You've been on record saying you support him 100%, but have you learned anything in these last few months that makes you change your mind about that? People like Geraldo or Greta Van Susteren have said, “You know, in light of what I’ve learned, I feel differently.”

O’REILLY: Well, first of all, my comments were made to Seth Meyers about what kind of a boss Roger Ailes was, not about the case. I don't know anything about the case, okay? Nothing. So he was a good boss, best boss I’ve ever had. And that's what I said to Seth Meyers. And that’s all I’ve said. And I'm not going to say anything else because I work for this company and I don't really have any insight into anything. So for once in my life, I’m going to keep my big mouth shut.

GEIST: Has the culture changed or has your job changed at all since Roger Ailes left?

O’REILLY: No.

GEIST: Is it a different place?

O’REILLY: We do the exact same thing. If you watch the factor every night, there’s been no change. We do what we do. I’ve been doing it 20 years.

GEIST: He’s so synonymous with that place, though, Bill. Does it feel different when you walk in the building there?

O’REILLY: I don't walk in the building a lot. I do a lot of my work in a separate place. You know, it's a sad situation for everyone involved and that's all I'm going to say.

GUTHRIE: And you keep in touch with him?

O’REILLY: You know, that's – Roger Ailes was very good to me and I feel very bad for his family, that's it.

GUTHRIE: Let's talk about the book. You take on the Japanese theater in World War II. And we were talking in the break. I mean, this is something that does not get as much attention and you really shine a light. What do you hope that people who read this book take away and learn about that?  

O’REILLY: Well, I want Colin Kaepernick to read this book. I want the guy who won't stand up during the National Anthem to read Killing the Rising Sun and to understand how much brave Americans sacrificed to free millions of people all over the world, in the Japanese theater and the European theater. I want Colin Kaepernick – and I'm sending him a copy – to read every single word of this book and tell me he shouldn't be standing up during the National Anthem. The bravery and the sacrifice that Americans made in World War II to free this world from Hitler and Hirohito was unprecedented in human history. And I'm tired of seeing our country besmirched when people don't know what they're talking about. So everybody needs to read Killing the Rising Sun.

GEIST: One of the biggest debates of the 20th Century was about whether or not it was right to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You get into that here, you say, yes, it was the right call. You talk about your father, that he wouldn't have been here and that you wouldn’t have been around. You also, though, get the presidents on the record. You asked all the presidents if it was the right call. What did you hear from them?

O’REILLY: Well, I asked the five living presidents to just write me a simple letter whether they would have dropped the at atom bomb. Three of them replied, alright? Carter, Bush the younger, Bush the elder. All three said yes, we have their letters in the book. President Obama would not answer, and I believe, because he would not have dropped the bomb. And President Clinton did not answer either, I believe for political reasons because his wife is running for president.

I start the book off with Reverend Jeremiah Wright – and that’s what piqued me to write this – when he said “God – GD America, now the chickens are coming to roost for Nagasaki and Hiroshima.” My head snapped back and I said, “You know what? I’m going to tell the story about this atom bomb. I’m going to tell exactly what happened.” And it’s amazing, Eisenhower didn't want to drop it. Eisenhower did not want to drop the bomb.  

GUTHRIE: And Truman overruled his generals.

O’REILLY: Right. But Truman knew that he had to, to save millions of lives. Those bombs saved millions of lives. So a very compelling situation.

GUTHRIE: Well, it’s a fascinating read.

O’REILLY: Thank you. Thank you for having me in.

GUTHRIE: Thank you so much, Bill, we’re always happy to have you on.

O’REILLY: I appreciate you guys having me in.

GUTHRIE: The book is called Killing the Rising Sun. Thank you.

GEIST: Thanks, Bill, good to see you.  

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Bill O'Reilly Savannah Guthrie Donald Trump

Sponsored Links