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Bill O’Reilly wasted no time addressing the Russian government’s demand for an apology from the Fox News anchor.
“I’m working on that apology, but it may take a little time,” said the host on Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor. “Might want to check in with me around 2023.”
The Kremlin had demanded an apology from the Fox News personality, who called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” in an interview with President Donald Trump that aired in part on Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl.
“We consider comments of that kind made by Fox News’ journalist unacceptable and offensive,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti. “And, frankly, we would like to receive an apology addressed to the president from such a respected network.”
After Trump told O’Reilly in the previously aired interview that he believed the U.S. should get along with Russia, O’Reilly responded, “He’s a killer though, Putin’s a killer.”
“There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “What do you think, our country is so innocent?”
O’Reilly also said on Monday’s show that “competing cable news stations” who “hate Mr. Trump to an unhealthy degree” analyzed the interview after the first clips appeared, trying to find quotes “to hammer the president.” In O’Reilly’s opinion, Trump was “straightforward and honest in that interview. whether you liked his answers or not.”
The anchor also continued to show clips of his Super Bowl interview with the president, including discussions about Iran, cartels in Mexico and his plans for healthcare.
Trump said that a new healthcare plan “is moving along very well,” and the country can expect a new healthcare plan by next year. “You have to remember — Obamacare doesn’t work,” he added, calling the new plan “good, less expensive and really great healthcare.”
“I’m very opposed to sanctuary cities — they breed crime, there’s a lot of problems,” Trump also said, as O’Reilly addressed judges ordering temporary halts to his travel ban.
O’Reilly’s refusal to apologize quickly made its point back to Russia, with Peskov saying the decision damages Fox News’ reputation.
“If an offense is made by a journalist of a news outlet and is later silenced by its management, [it] characterizes that news outlet in a bad way,” he said, according to Russian news agency Interfax on Tuesday.
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