In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, Fox broadcast an interview between Bill O’Reilly and President Donald Trump. In it, Trump addressed controversial topics like the refugee ban, his relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the future of the Affordable Care Act. Here are some highlights:
On the refugee ban:
“I think it was very smooth. You have a 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.”
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“I do respect him…I respect a lot people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with them. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS—which is a major fight—and Islamic terrorism all over the world—major fight—that’s a good thing. Will I get along with them? I have no idea.”
When O’Reilly countered, saying that Putin is a “killer,” Trump didn’t back down.
“There’s a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”
On paying for the wall:
When O’Reilly asked how Trump what kind of tariff he would levy on Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall, Trump pivoted, directing the conversation to the loss of American jobs.
“Well right now it’s very unfavorable. Right now we’re losing our jobs to Mexico. You look at the plants, you look at these massive plants and I have to tell you, I’ve turned it around. Already, I’ve turned it around. You see that. Ford has been phenomenal. They canceled the plant, they’re building tremendous—.”
“Yeah, you intimidated them. They’re afraid of you,” O’Reilly interjected. “You know these companies.”
“I don’t know they’re afraid, no, no they want to do what’s right,” Trump insisted.
O’Reilly doubled down on his point. “They want to do what’s right? Why didn’t they do what was right in the past? They’re afraid of you.”
“Because the wrong people spoke to them,” Trump said. “But they’re gonna do what’s right and they’re bringing jobs back to Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and all that places that lost their jobs. So that’s already happening. I think you’re gonna see a tremendous job growth in this country.”
On California becoming a sanctuary state:
“Well I think it’s ridiculous. Sanctuary cities, as you know, I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities. They breed crime. There’s a lot of problems. If we have to, we’ll defund. Do we give tremendous amounts of money to California? California, in many ways, is out of control, as you know. Obviously the voters agree, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for me.”
When O’Reilly asked if defunding was Trump’s weapon of choice, Trump replied:
“Well, it’s a weapon. I don’t want to defund a state or a city. I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.”
On voter fraud and presidential responsibility to say verifiably true things:
O’Reilly asked Trump if he believed there was “any validity to the criticism of you—that you say things that you can’t back up factually,” citing, as an example, Trump’s unverifiable claim that 3 million illegal immigrants voted in the November election. Trump’s reply focused on the voter fraud issue, side-stepping the idea of presidential responsibility with regard to facts entirely:
“Well, many people have come out and said I’m right…and it doesn’t have to do with the vote, although that’s the end result, it has to do with the registration. And when you look at the registration and you see dead people that have voted, when you see people that are registered in two states that voted in two states. When you see other things—when you see illegals, people that are not citizens and they’re on the registration rolls, look Bill, we can be babies but you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, you have dead people, you have this, it’s really a bad situation. It’s really bad.”
“So you think you’re going to be proven correct in that statement?” O’Reilly asked.
“Well I think I already have. A lot of people have come out and said that I am correct,” Trump insisted.
O’Reilly then tried to bring the conversation back around to the idea of making factual claims, saying, “But the data has to show that 3 million illegals voted.”
Trump’s reply? “Forget that. Forget all of that. Just take a look at the registration and we’re gonna do it. And I’m gonna set up a commission to be headed by Vice President Mike Pence and we’re gonna look at it very, very carefully.”
On the future of American healthcare:
“In the process and maybe it’ll take until sometime into next year but we are certainly going to be in the process. Very complicated. Obamacare is a disaster. You have to remember, Obamacare doesn’t work. So we are putting in a wonderful plan. It’s statutorily takes a while to get. We’re going to be putting it in fairly soon. I think that yes I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year. “